Equity fully adopts the rule, that no contract shall be enforced which does not rest upon a valuable consideration, but construes and applies it somewhat more rationally and less technically. Thus, equity will not enforce a mere voluntary contract; for it permits one to withhold what he has, of his own accord, and not from any benefit to himself or expectation of any benefit, volunteered to promise, (b) And yet if the promisee, on the faith of the promise, does some act, or enters into some engagement or arrangement, which the promise justified, and which a breach of the promise would make very injurious to him, this, equity might regard as confirming and establishing the promise, in much the same way as a consideration for it would, (c)1 Equity,
(b) Callaghan v. Callaghan, 8 Clark & F. 374; Osgood v. Strode, 2 P. Wms. 245. Compare Vernon v. Vernon, id. 594, 600. Cox v. Sprigg, 6 Md. 274; Black v. Cord, 2 Harris & G. 100. An agreement in writing by a landlord to reduce the rent, followed by his acceptance of the reduced rent, during seven years, being without consideration, cannot be enforced. FitzSerald v. Lord Portarlington, I Jones, 431. Tor can a creditor's separate agreement to accept a part of his debt in satisfaction of the whole. Acker v. Phoenix, 4 Paige, 305; Gurlev v. Hiteshue, 5 Gill, 222.
(c) Crosbie v McDoual, 13 Ves. 148; King's Heirs v. Thompson, 9 Pet. 204; Gibson, C. J., Rerick v. Kern, 14 S. & R. 271; Shepherd v. Bevin, 9 Gill, 32, where it was held, that money expended in improvement of land by a son, on the faith of an agreement of his parent to convey the land to him, constituted a consideration for which specific performance might be decreed against heirs of the parent. Upon a bill Bled for a petition and an answer, setting up a contract of the an-cestor to convey the land to the defendant, and showing long possession held, and expensive improvements made on the faith of the contract, a court of equity requires a less strong case to be made out by the defendant than if he were seeking specific performance of the contract, and may therefore refuse to interfere in behalf of the plaintiff, although the defendant could not prove the terms of the contract with that precision which would be necessary in an application for a specific performmoreover, adopts the legal rule, that a benefit conferred, received, or held is a valuable consideration, and gives to this rule an enlarged and liberal construction and application, (d) * So, too, equity adopts the legal principle, which, for most purposes confines the necessity for valuable consideration to promises which are executory. If they are executed wholly, or, if not wholly, yet in a substantial degree, and there remains something to be done, to complete the title, or otherwise render the enjoyment of the thing more beneficial to the plaintiff, equity will require that thing to be done, although the promise was wholly voluntary, (e) This is often done by considering the donor, or other party defendant, as a trustee for the plaintiff, if the donor has done enough to vest an equitable title in the plaintiff. (f) Thus, if an instrument of gift has been fully executed, but not delivered, and the circumstances leave the donor no moral right to withhold the delivery, equity will regard him as holding it for the donee, (g) So it would be if the donor had formally, by his declaration of trust, assumed the character of trustee. (h) Or, if a legal right which could be enforced by law, were vested in the trustee for the plaintiff, (i) Or if a chose in action had been transferred, equitably, to the plaintiff, and it was necessary that his title or interest should be confirmed. (j) ance. See Haines v. Haines, 4 Md. Ch. Dec. 13d, 137. And Hill v. Gomme, 5 Mylne & C. 250, 255; Morgan v. Rains-ford, 8 Irish Eq. 299. But see McClure v McClure, 1 Barr, 374.
1 A promise to make a pure gift of land has been frequently specifically enforced where the donee has entered into possession on the faith of the promise, and made improvements. Gwynn v. McCauley, 32 Ark. 97; Manley v. Howlett, 55 Cal. 94; Beall v. Clark, 71 Ga 818; Irwin v. Dvke, 114 Bl. 302: Newkirk v. Marshall, 35 Kan. 77; Anderson v. Scott, 94 Mo. 637; Seavey v. Drake, 62 N. H. 393; Freeman v. Freeman, 43 N. Y. 34; Erie, etc. Ry. Co. v. Knowles, 117 Pa. 77; Hunter v. Mills, 29 S. C. 72; Halsey r. Peter's Ex. 79 Va. 60. See also Beall v. Clark, 71 Ga. 818. A promise to give a lien was enforced under similar circumstances in Smith v. Smith, 125 NY. 224. But the improvements or expenditures must be made in reliance on the promise, Truman v. Truman, 79 la. 506. It is necessary that the donee should actually take possession. Pond v. Sheean, 132 111 312. But merely taking possession is not sufficient. Anderson v, Scott, 94 Mo. 637. If improvements are insignificant in value, or when the value of the use and occupation of the land has been of more value than the improvements, specific performance will not be decreed. Eason v. Eason, 61 Tex. 225; Wells v. Davis, 77 Tex. 636.
(d) Edwards v. Grand Junction Railway Co. 1 Mylne & Co. 650; Leach v. Fobes, 11 Gray, 506.
(e) Ellison v. Ellison, 6 Ves. 656; Keke-wich v. Manning, 1 De G., M. & G. 176, 12 Eng. L. & Eq. 120; Bunn v. Winthrop, 1 Johns. Ch. 329. But a mere delivery of possession of land under a parol gift, though the donor be father to the donee, is not a ground upon which a conveyance can be decreed. See Stewart v. Stewart, 3 Watts, 253.
(f) See the judgment of Sir William Grant, M. R.: Antrobus v. Smith, 12 Ves. 45; the judgments of Sir James Wigram, V. C.: Hughes v. Stubbs, 1 Hare, 479; Meek v. Kettleweli, id. 469; and Fletcher p. Fletcher, 4 id. 73; the judgment of Sir John Leach, M. R.: Fortescue v. Barnett, 3 Mylne & K. 42; and the judgment of Lord Lyndhurttt, V. C.: Meek v. Kettle-well, 1 Phillips, 347. See Coning ham v. Plunkett, 2 Younge & C, Ch. 245.
(g) Exton v. Scott, 6 Sim. 31; Fletcher v. Fletcher, 4 Hare, 67; Bunn v. Winthrop, 1 Johns. Ch. 329. But compare Dillon v. Coppin, 4 Mylne & C. 647; Antrobus v. Smith, 12 Ves. 39.