73 Barnard v, Simons, I Roue's Abr. 26, pl. 39, Loyd v. Lee, 1 Strange, 94; Jones v. Ashburnham, 4 East, 455. Other early decisions holding forbearance of a groundless claim insufficient consideration are collected in 12 Harv. L. Rev. 617, n. 2.
74 Longridge v. Dorville, 6 B. & Ald. 117.
75 See cases cited infra, n. 78, 79.
76Cook v. Wright, I B. & S. 669; Callisher v. Bischoffsheim, L. E. 5 Q. B. 449; Mike v. New Zealand Alford Est. Co., 32 Ch. D. 266; Hol-worthy Urban Council v. Holworthy Rural Council,  2 Ch. 62.
77In Neubacher v. Ferry, 67 Ind. App. 362,103 N. E. 806, however, the court in speaking of a compromise of a written contract said if the appellant in good faith was contending for a construction "which might reasonably be contended for by one not versed in the law," the surrender of his claim would be sufficient consideration. Ock-ford v. Barelli, 20 W. Rep. 116, perhaps goes farthest in sustaining forbearance or compromise as good consideration when a claim is honestly made no difficulty in finding sufficient consideration. The fundamental question is when does the law hold that a man has not merely the power hut the right to assert and attempt to enforce a claim. If he has a right to attempt to enforce a frivolous claim, provided his intelligence is so moderate that he can do so in good faith, forbearance to exercise the right is sufficient consideration. If the law here as generally imposes the standard of reasonableness and regards it as improper though not actionin spite of the fact that the claim is obviously absurd. The plaintiff in that case had gone through a marriage ceremony with her uncle who had at the time a wife living, though this was not known to the plaintiff. The marriage, therefore, was void, both because it was bigamous and was within the forbidden degrees of relationship. After the death of the uncle a claim against his estate was made by the plaintiff. At a family conclave it was agreed that the plaintiff should have one-third in consideration of her forbearing to assert a claim. The jury found that the plaintiff when she made this agreement believed herself to be the widow of the deceased. The court sustained a verdict for the plaintiff, saying in a brief opinion that they were unable to distinguish the case from Cal-lisher v. Bischoffsheim, L. R, 5 Q. B. 44ft. In that case, however, the facts did not show as they did in Ockford v. Barelli, that however honest the claim, it was wholly absurd; and the facts which made it so could not have been seriously disputed. Cf. with Ockford v. Barelli, Moore v. Moore, 256 Fed, 497 (C. C. A.).
In Miles v. New Zealand Alford Est. Co., 32 Ch. D. 266, 291, Lord Bowen said: "I think, therefore, that the reality of the claim which is given up must be measured, not by the state of the law as it is ultimately discovered to be, but by the state of the knowledge of the person who at the time has to judge and make the concession." But later, in the same opinion, he Bays: "When the Master of the Rolls in Ex parte Banner, L. R. 17 Ch. D. 480, says he doubts, if there was really and obviously do cause of action, whether the belief of the parties that there was, would be sufficient ground for a compromise, I agree if by that he means there must be a real cause of action,- that is to say, one that is bona fide and not frivolous or vexatious; but I do not agree if he means by a real cause of action which commends itself to the ultimate reasoning of the tribunal which has to consider and determine the case."
The latter extract apparently indicates that some degree of reasonableness besides the plaintiffs honesty is necessary. In Blount v. Dillaway, 199 Mass. 33, 85 N. E. 477, 17 L. R. A, (N. 8.) 1036, the court held that it was not necessary for a plaintiff who had received a promise in consideration of forbearing to contest a will to show that she had reasonable cause to believe that she had some fair chance of succeeding in the contest. The court, however, considered somewhat the facts of the case, and held that the claim could not be considered vexatious or frivolous. In Neikirk v. Williams 81 W. Va. 558, 94 S. E. 947, L. R. A, 1918 F, 665, a promise to pay for the cancellation of a life insurance policy, when the promisor was under no liability to pay the premiums was held unenforceable.
In the United States many decisions were rendered, while the test applied in England was still the doubtfulness of the claim forborne. Whether all jurisdictions whose courts have made such decisions would now be disposed to follow the more liberal modern English doctrine, is not perfectly clear, but in many jurisdictions at least a disposition has been shown to do so and to make the test the honesty of the claimant, provided the invalidity of the claim in law or fact is not perfectly obvious.78 On the other hand, many courts lay down the older rule without qualification, that the claim forborne must be reasonably doubtful in fact or law.79 Even in States whose courts lay the principal stress on the honesty and good faith of the claimant, forbearance is insufficient consideration if the claim forborne is so lacking in any foundation as to make its assertion incompatible with both honesty and a reasonable degree of intelligence.80 There has been some doubt whether it makes any difference that the claim foreborne was already in litigation and that this litigation was dropped. It was early laid down, where a suit actually begun was forborne 81 that "suits are not presumed causeless " 82 and that therefore the allegation of forbearance of such a suit stated at least a prima facie consideration. There seems no reason why forbearance to prosecute a suit, which is actually found to be wholly groundless but which has been already begun, should be better consideration than a promise not to bring such a suit in the first place; and, at the present time, there is no doubt that the law makes no distinction,83 except it seems probable that if proceedings have been begun, there is a presumption of fact that the claim was at least doubtful. It is immaterial whether the claim foreborne is against the promisor or is a claim against a third person; the detriment to the promisee is the same, and it is not essential that there should be benefit to the promisor.84 The nature of the claim forborne is also immaterial. It may be a claim for a debt, for damages for tort, for contesting the probate of a will,85 for enforcing a right to a divorce or nullity of marriage,86 or for anything else to which the plaintiff may claim a legal right.87 If a claim is known by the claimant to have no