It is sometimes said that the law regards a breach of contract as in effect a destruction of the contract by the wrongdoer, for which the law substitutes a right of action for damages in favor of the injured party, and that therefore the appropriate measure of damages is the value of the contract. Though little practical difficulty usually follows from such a statement, it is not strictly accurate. Except in a case presenting the anomalous doctrine of anticipatory breach, it is necessarily true that at the time of the breach of contract the time for performing the contract had arrived. It is, therefore, performance that the injured party was then entitled to, and it is not the contract of which he has been wrongly deprived by the breach, but the performance of the contract. The law in giving him a right of action for damages, therefore, should adjust the damages in such a way as to equal the value of the performance. Not, indeed, necessarily the value of the defendant's performance alone, for in a bilateral contract not yet fully performed by the plaintiff, unless the promises are independent, the performance by the defendant had it been made would necessarily have been accompanied or followed by performance on the part of the plaintiff. The defendant's non-performance, therefore, saves the plaintiff from the labor or expense of wholly or partly performing on his own part, and in order to settle finally the rights of both parties in a single action, the court deducts this saving made by the plaintiff from the value of the performance which the defendant should have made. Moreover, though the time for some performance by the defendant has arrived, the time for all the performance he has promised may not have; and the present Value of this future performance must often be discounted. But even for such promised performance the measure of damages is not the value of a present obligation to render this performance in the future. If the case is not tried too soon to make it possible, evidence is admissible to show that in the future the damage if not speculative or remote actually turned out to be greater or less than the value which would have been placed at the time of the breach on the future undertakings in the contract.5
2 Sedgwiek on Damages, Sec.605.
3 Alder v. Keighley, 15 M. & W. 117,120; Jenkins v. Kirtley, 70 Kans. 901, 79 Pac. 671; Leland v. Stone, 10 Man. 459, 462; Dana v. Fiedler, 12 N. Y. 40, 50, 62 Am. Dec. 130; McDowell w. Oyer, 21 Pa. 417.
4 in Best v. Jolly, 1 Sid. 38, it was said: "Where there were two considerations, and one is good and the other void, the damages given upon it shall be intended to be all given for the good consideration." See also Cripps v. Gouldinge, 1 Roue's Abr. 30; Crisp v. Gamel, Cro, Jac. 128