Generally there can be no breach of a promise until all the conditions qualifying it have happened or been performed.5 But a peculiar rule prevails in regard to promises to pay on demand. "When a party agrees to pay his own debt on request, it is regarded as an undertaking to pay generally, and no special request need be alleged.6 But it is otherwise when he undertakes for a collateral matter, or as a surety for a third person. There if the agreement be that he will pay on request, the request is parcel of the contract, and must be specially alleged and proved."7
4 An illustration of this distinction is found in the rule of the common law that an accord and satisfaction could not discharge liability on a sealed instrument for the payment of money even after breach, but an accord and satisfaction after breach of a covenant of any other character could be made, for the covenant had merged in a right of action for damages. See infra, Sec. 1849.
5 Blackburn v. Irvine, 225 Fed. 217,123 C. C. A. 405; Allen v. Stephens, 102 Ga. 596, 29 S. E. 443; Atcherley v. Lewers, 18 Hawaii, 625; In re Squire, 168 la. 597, 150 N. W. 706; Mc - Dermott v. Alger, 186 Mich. 278, 152 N. W. 991; Essex v. Smith, 97 Neb. 649,150 N. W. 1022; Gilbert v. Taylor, 148 N. Y. 298, 42 N. E. 713.
The explanation of the anomaly that a debtor whose promise is expressly conditional upon a demand should be liable without a demand (for the suggestion that bringing an action itself is a demand which satisfies a condition precedent to the plaintiff's right to bring the action, is absurd) is found in the common form of early declarations, which always alleged, even though the defendant's promise was in terms unconditional, that the defendant promised to pay on request, and that though often requested he failed to do so. It was therefore impossible to tell from the pleadings whether or not there was in fact a condition requiring a request or demand; and the decision that a demand was unnecessary, and that the allegations in the declarations were purely formal in cases where there was no express condition led the courts mistakenly to hold the allegations equally formal where there was such a condition.
6 See supra, Sec. 1175.
7 Bronson, J., speaking for the court in Nelson v. Bostwick, 5 Hill, 37, 40 Am. Dec. 310, an action against Shumway as principal and Nelson as surety upon a bond, "conditioned to be void if Shumway should pay on demand all costs that might be awarded to the defendants" in a certain action. Judge Bronson cited- Devenly v. Wdbore, Gro. Elis. 85; Hill v. Wade, Cro. Jac. 523; Waters v. Bridge, Cro. Jac. 639; Birks v. Trippet, 1 Saund. 32, and note (2); Harwood v. Turberville, 6 Mod. 200; Com. Dig. Pleader (c. 00); Sickle - more v. Thistleton, 6 M. A S. 9; Garter v. Ring, 3 Gamp. 459; Douglass v. Reynolds, 7 Pet. 113, 8 L. Ed 626, 2 Saund. 108, note (3); Lawes' PI. 232, 251; 1 Chit. PL 363, ed. of '37. Cowen, J., in a concurring opinion, (cited as additional authorities for the neoessity of an actual demand in the one case and the needless - ness of it in the other; Selman v. King (Cro. Jac. 183); The Case of an Hostler (Yelv. 66); and continued A promise to save harmless on request is an instance. (Harrison v. Mitford, 2 Bulstr. 229.)
"This and various other cases to the same effect are cited, 1 Saund. 33, note (2), 'for,' adds the editor, 'a request is parcel of the contract, and must be proved; and no action arises until a request be made/ (Vid. Douglass v. Howland, 24 Wend. 51, and several books there cited to the same point.) In Harwood v. Tuber-ville (6 Mod. 200) the defendant became surety by bond to pay a previous debt of his mother, on demand; and a special request was held necessary to charge him." These authorities were quoted and relied upon in First Nat. Bank v. Story, 200 N. Y. 346, 93 N. £. 940, 34 L. R. A. (N. S.) 154, where it was held that one who guaranteed payment at maturity "upon demand" was not liable until demand had been made. To the same effect is Bradford Old Bank v. Sutcliffe,  2 K. B. 833. See also supra, Sec. 1175; infra, Sec.2040.