Probably more jurisdictions in the United States have followed the early English authorities which hold a promise enforceable if supported by past consideration rendered at the promisor's request than have denied it. A certain ambiguity lurks in the word request; so far as the natural English meaning of the word is concerned, it may mean request as a favor as well as request as a matter of business in return for compensation.96 Most jurisdictions do indeed deny validity to a promise made in consideration of past services,97 or payments96 intended to be gratuitous when, rendered or made. But even on so plain a matter as this, a few courts under the fiction of an implied request where a benefit has been given, or under the doctrine of moral consideration, have enforced such promises to pay for a past consideration though it was intended at the time when it was given to be gratuitous.99 Where, however, services axe rendered because requested as a matter of business and where consequently there is a contemporaneous promise implied in fact to pay for them, the weight of authority in the United States supports the validity of a subsequent promise defining the extent of the promisor's undertaking.1
92 Moore v. Elmer, 180 Mass. 15, 61 N.E.259. See also Massachusetts Mutual Life Ins. Co. v. Green, 185 Mass. 306, 70 N. E. 202; Conant v. Evans, 202 Mass. 34, 88 N. E. 438.
93 Clemens v. Mayor, etc., of Baltimore, 16 Md. 208.
94 In Moore v. Elmer, 180 Mass. 15, 17, 61 N. E. 259, it in said: "It may be added that even if Elmer was under a previous liability to the plaintiff, it is not alleged that the agreement sued upon was received in satisfaction of it, either absolutely or conditionally, and this again cannot be implied in favor of the plaintiff's bill."
95See Massachusetts Mutual Life Ins. Co. v. Green, 185 Mass. 306, 308, 70 N. E. 202, also infra, Sec. 278.
96 See supra, Sec. 112.
97 Murdock v. Murdock, 7 Cal. 511, 513; Bailey v. Bussing, 29 Conn. 1, 5; Walker v. Brawn, 104 Ga. 357, 30 S. E. 867; Allen v. Bryson, 67 Ia. 591, 25 N. W. 820, 56 Am. Sep. 358; Gooch v. Gooch, 178 Ia. 902, 160 N. W. 433; Viley v. Pettit, 96 Ky. 576, 29 S. W. 438; Graf v. Graf, 150 Ky. 226, 150 S. W. 58; Sanderson v. Brown, 57 Md. 308; Moore v. Elmer, 180 Mass. 15, 61 N. E. 259; Osgood v. Conway, 67 N. H. 100, 36 Atl. 608; Gardner v. Schooley, 25 N. J. Eq. 150; Sharp v. Hoopes, 74 N. J. L. 191, 64 Atl. 989; Streval v. Jones Estate, 106 N. Y. App. Diy. 334, 94 N. Y. S. 627; Blanshan v. Russell, 32 N. Y. App. Div. 103, 52 N. Y. S. 963, affd. 161 N. Y. 629, 55 N. E. 1093; Stoneburner v. Motley, 95 Va. 784, 30 S. E. 364.