If the consideration for a promise is so inadequate as to warrant the conclusion that the nature of the bargain cannot have been fairly understood, specific performance will be denied;28 especially when such inadequacy is taken in connection with other circumstances, even though they do not amount to actual fraud.29 It is generally said that the inadequacy of consideration standing alone must be so extreme as to afford.evidence of fraud, or it wilt be no bar to specific performance.30 The absolute form of the statement is probably due originally to a purpose merely to deny that the English law has any principle like that of the Roman law which required as a condition of the validity of a contract that the price should exceed half of the value, and unquestionably it is undesirable to lay down a hard and fast rule of this sort. There are many degrees of inadequacy and as a matter of fact inadequacy of consideration rarely does stand alone. There are always many surrounding circumstances, and it is certainly true that inadequacy of consideration in connection with other facts which of themselves would not bar relief may justify a refusal to enforce a contract. Moreover, if a case be supposed to arise on demurrer to the bill or otherwise where the only possible matter of objection is extreme inadequacy of consideration, to say that this of itself cannot be sufficient reason to refuse specific performance is inconsistent with the numerous cases which assert that the remedy is discretionary, and that harsh or unfair contracts will notrbe enforced.31 Surely inadequacy of consideration may make a bargain harsh and unfair, though it is not fraudulent.32
Borland, 50 Barb. 438; Spotts v. Eisenhauer, 31 Pa. Super. Ct. 89.
26 Miller v. Tjexhus, 20 S. Dak. 12.
28 Chesterfield v. Jansen, 2 Ves. Sr. 125; Day v. Newman, 10 Ves. 300; Savile v. Savile, 1 Peere. Wms. 745; Riordan v. Stout, 17 D. C. App. Cas. 397; Christian v. Ransome, 46 Ga. 138; Thayer v. Younge, 80 Ind. 259; Nome v. Clark, 72 N. H. 442, 57 Atl. 334.
29 Cleere v. Cleere, 82 Ala. 581, 3 So. 107, 60 Am. Rep. 750; Knott v. Giles, 27 Dist. of Col. App. Cas. 581; Shoop v. Burnside, 78 Kans. 871, 98 Pac. 202; Ratterman v. Campbell, 26 Ky. L. Rep. 173, 80 S. W. 1155; Wolford v. Steele, 27 Ky. L. Rep. 88, 84 S. W. 327; Higgins v. Butler, 78 Me. 520, 7 Atl. 276; Worth v. Watts, 74 N. J. L. 609, 70 Atl. 357; Great Northern R. Co. v. Sheyenne
Tel. Co., 27 N. Dak. 256, 263, 145 N. W. 1062; Grizzle v. Sutherland, 88 Va. 584, 14 S. E. 332; Gough v. Bench, 6 Ont. 699.
30 Coles v. Trecothick, 9 Ves. 234, 246; Callaghan v. Callaghan, 8 CI. & F. 374, 401; Erwin v. Parham, 12 How. 197, 13 L. Ed. 952; Alabama Central R. Co. v. Long, 158 Ala. 301, 48 So. 363; Zempel v. Hughes, 235 11I. 424, 85 N. E. 641; Warner v. Marshall, 166 Ind. 88, 75 N. E. 582; Law-son v. Mullinix, 104 Md. 156, 64 Atl. 938; Lee p. Kirby, 104 Mass. 420; New England Trust Co. v. Abbott, 162 Mass. 148, 38 N. E. 432, 27 L. R. A. 271; Shaddle v. Disborough, 30 N. J. Eq. 370; Seymour v. De-Lancey, 3 Cow. 445, 15 Am. Dec. 270; Combes v. Adams, 150 N. C. 64, 63 S. E. 186; Kramer v. Dinsmore, 152 Pa. 264, 25 Atl. 789. See also Hani-son v. Guest, 8 H. L. C. 481.