Even though the impossibility of performing his contract is due to the defendant's own fault, equity will not decree that he shall do what obviously is beyond his power.66 For this rear son if a vendor has no title,67 or if the subject-matter of a contract has been destroyed, or does not exist, a court of equity, though it may award damages if the plaintiff had proper grounds for bringing a bill, will not decree specific performance.68 Nor will equity decree the performance of an act which requires the assent or action of a third person, where it does not appear that the third person will give the required assent or performance.69 This principle finds frequent application where the transfer of a valid title to real estate requires the vendor's wife to join in the conveyance. Though it was originally held in England that a vendor would be ordered to procure his wife's signature, if necessary to complete his title,70 the law is now settled to the contrary in England as well as in the United States.71

90 N. E. 216, 27 L. R. A. (N. S.) 608; In re McGinley's Est., 257 Pa. 478, 101 AIL 807, and earlier Pennsylvania cans therein cited.

66 Lamb v. General Film Co., 130 la. 1026, 58 So. 867; Whalen 0. Baltimore, etc., R. Co., 108 Md. 11, 69 All. 300, 17 L. R. A. (N. S.) 130, 129 Am. St. Rep. 423; Kelsey 0. Distil, 141 N. Y. App. Div. 78, 125 N. Y. 8. 602; Glaaaer 0. Loughran, 103 N. Y. Misc. 20, 170 N. Y. S. 190; Hardy 0. Ward, 150 N. C. 385, 64 & E. 171.

67 Kennedy v. Hazelton, 128 U. a 667, 32 L. Ed. 576, 9 Sup. Ct. 202; Enalen 9. Allen, 160 Ala. 529, 49 80. 430; Smith 0. Bangham, 156 Cal. 359, 104 Pac. 689, 28 L. R. A (N. S.) 522; Ormsby 0. Gra-Graham, 123 la. 202, 98 N. W. 724; Wafche 0. Endom, 124 La. 697, 50 80.656; Public Service Corp.*. Hacken-sack Meadows Co., 72 N. J. Eq. 285, 64 AtL 976; Banneret 0. Davidson, 226 Pa. 287, 75 AtL 417; Wright v.

Suydam, 59 Wash. 530, 108 Pac. 610, 110 Pac. 8.

68 Waite v. O'Neil, 76 Fed. 408, 22 C. C. A. 248, 34 L. R. A. 550; Smith 0. Pacific Bank, 137 CaL 363, 70 Pac 184; Burton 0. Shotwell, 13 Bush, 271; Roanoke St. R. Co. 0. Hicks, 96 Va. 510, 32 S. E. 295.

69 Benningham v. Sheridan, 33 Beav. 660; Roundtree 0. McLain, 20 Fed. Cas. No. 12,084a; Mackey Wall Plaster Co. 0. United States Gypsum Co., 244 Fed. 275; Hurl-but 0. Kantxler, 112 111. 482; Caper-ton 0. Forrey, 49 La. Ann. 872, 21 So. 600; Cuban Production Co. 0. Rodriguez, 124 N. Y. App. 363, 108 N. Y. S. 785; Doctor v. Reiss, 180 N. Y. App. D. 62, 167 N. Y. S. 193; Langford v. Taylor, 99 Va. 577, 39 S. E. 223; Martin 0. South Bluefield Land Co., 81 W. Va. 62, 94 S. E. 493.

70 Winter 0. D'Evreux, 3 P. Wms. 189 n.; Morris 0. Stephenson, 7 Ves. 474.

71 Martin v. Mitchell, 2 Jac. & W.

The authorities on the right of the purchaser against a vendor who is unable to obtain a release of inchoate dower are thus summarized in a decision of the Supreme Court of Missouri.73 "The cases are in much confusion and irreconcilable contrariety. Three views prevail: (1) the purchaser is entitled as against inchoate dower to have the purchase price diminished by such sum as represents the present value.of thewifeVcon-tingent, interest, estimated by the tables of mortality and by the statute of present, values of estates less than a fee;73 (2) the view that the decree of the court may permit the vendee to retain one-third of the purchase price as an indemnity until the wife die or convey,'74 and (3) the view that the vendee shall have no abatement of the agreed purchase price on account of the wife's refusal to relinquish her inchoate dower (on the ground usually that such abatement would serve to put upon the wife unfair coercion to relinquish a right given to her by law).75 A reason sometimes given for the refusal of equity to decree performance where the defendant is unable to perform, is lack of mutuality; - the vendor could not have compelled performance, therefore the purchaser cannot.76 If this argument is sound the fact that the vendor's lack of title is remediable, because he can procure a good title by purchase, should afford no reason for a decree of specific performance against the vendor;77 but the invalidity of the argument is shown by the numerous decisions which award a purchaser specific performance with compensation,78 and generally where a.third person on whose consent the defendant's ability to perform depends, is shown to be willing to give the necessary consent, a decree will not be denied.79 Moreover, a purchaser has been allowed in some cases to take a decree if he so wished which gave him all the vendor had, but left the full right for which he had contracted dependent on a third person's action.80 Pe-

413, 425; Frederick v. Coxwell, 3 Y. & J. 514, 517; Barbour v. Hickey, 2 App. Cas. D. C. 207, 213; Richmond v. Robinson, 12 Mich. 193; Tebeati v. Ridge, 261 Mo. 547, 568, 170 & W. 871, L. R. A. 1915 C. 367; Peeler t>. Levy, 26 N. J. Eq. 330; Martin v. Dwelly, 6 Wend. 9, 15, 21 Am. Dec. 245; Clark v. Seirer, 7 Watts, 107, 32 Am. Dec. 745; Riez's App., 73 Pa. 485. See also Kuratli v. Jackson, 60 Oreg. 203, 118 Pac. 192, 1013, 38 L. R. A. (N. S.) 1195, Ann. Cas. 1914 A. 203. In Ferrell v. Bork, 79 Atl. 897 (decision without opinion in 76 N. J. Eq. 615), the court being eonvinoed that the refusal of the wife was induoed by the husband ordered him to give a bond to protect the purchaser from the enforcement of the wife's interest; and in Dixon v. Anderson, 252 Fed. 694, 696, 164 C. C A. 534, the court said: "The wife is not a necessary party, and 'her willingness to join in the conveyance need not be affirmatively shown. Campbell v. Beard, 57 W. Va. 501, 50 8. E. 747. In a case like this the law presumes that the wife will be willing to unite with her husband in conveying the land which he has agreed to sell. If the fact turns out otherwise by answer and proof, the court may, nevertheless, require the husband to execute a deed in acoord-anoe with his contract. Rodman v.

Robinson, 134 N. C. 503, 47 S. E 19, 65 L. R. A. 682, 101 Am. St. Rep-877; Brown v. Eaton, 21 Minn. 409. And so it is distinctly held by the Supreme Court of Appeals of Virginia in Steadman v. Handy, 102 Va. 382, 46 S. E. 380."

72 Tebeau v. Ridge, 261 Mo. 547,568, 170 S. W. 871, L. R. A. 1915 C. 367.

73 Citing: Springle ». Shields, 17 Ala. 295; Martin o. Merritt, 57 Ind. 34, 26 Am. Rep. 45; Ncecker v. Wailing-ford, 133 Iowa, 605, 111 N. W. 37; Davis v. Parker, 14 Allen, 94; Woodbury v. Luddy, 96 Mass. 1, 92 Am. Dec. 731; Walker v. Kelly, 91 Mich. 212, 51 Ni W. 934; Sanborn t>. Nockin, 20 Minn. 178; Bostwick v. Beach, 103 N. Y. 414, 9 N. E. 41; Wanna-maker v. Brown, 77 S. C. 64, 57 S. E. 665; Wright v. Young, 6 Wis. 127, 70 Am. Dec. 453. Tebeau v. Ridge, 261 Mo. 547, 170 S. W. 871, L. R. A 1915 C. 367 itself adopts this rule. The right of the purchaser to such a decree is often made to depend on his ignorance when the contract' was made, of the fact that the vendor was married. See infra, J 1436, n. 88 If aware of the fact it is said that purchaser should have required the signature of the wife to the contract. This is the rule in New Jersey when refusal of the wife to convey is fraudulently brought about. Young v..Paul, 10 N. J. Eq. 401, 64 Am. Deo. 466.

74 Citing: Springle v. Shields, 17 Ala. 295; Bradford v. Smith, 123 Iowa, 41, 08 N. W. 377.

75 Barbour v. Hickey, 2 App. D. C. 207, 24 L. R. A. 763; Cowan v. Kane, 211 111. 572, 71 N. E. 1097; Aiple-Hemmelmann Real Estate Co. v. Spelbrink, 211 Mo. 671, 111 S. W. 480 (overruled by Tebeau v. Ridge, 261 Mo. 647, 170 S. W. 871); Mo-Cormick v. Stephany, 57 N. J. Eq. 257; 41 AH. 840 (unless wife's refusal was fraudulently collusive with husband, in which case the rule in New Jersey is contra); Roos v. Lock-wood, 13 N. Y. S. 128; Riesz's Appeal, 73 Fa. St. 485; Graybill v. Brugh, 80 Va. 805, 17 S. E. 558, 21 L. R. A. 133, 37 Am. St. Rep. 894. See also Kuatli v. Jackson, 60 Oreg. 203, 118 Fae. 192, 1013, 38 L. R. A. (N. S.) 1196, and cases cited.

76 Ferrer o. Nash, 35 Beav. 167;

Public Service Corp. v. Hackensaok Meadows Co,, 72 N. J. Eq. 285, 64 Atl. 076.

77 So held in Public Service Corp. v. Haokensack Meadows Co.,. 72 N. J. Eq. 285, 64 Atl. 076.

78 See infra, $1436.

79 Lyman v. Gedney, 114 11I. 388, 29 N. E. 282, 55 Am. Rep. 871; Jacob-son v. Rechniti, 46 N. Y. Miso. 135, 03 N. Y. S. 173; Kelsey v. Distler, 141 N. Y. App. D. 78, 125 N. Y. S. 602. See also Roquemore v. Mitchell, 167 Ala. 475, 52 So. 423, 140 Am. St. Rep. 52; Ellis v. Small, 209 Mass. 147, 95 N. E. 79; Arnold v. Hull, 7 Grant Ch. (Can.) 47.

80 Thus the vendor of a liquor license has been required to transfer it subject to the possibility that license oominissionerB may not issue a license to him. In re Fisher, 96 Fed. 89; Fisher v. Cushman, cuniary inability of the defendant will not, however, preclude a decree for payment where such a decree is appropriate.81