It is a somewhat artificial inference of fact that an unqualified admission of a debt necessarily implies, so far as the Statute of Limitations is concerned, a new promise to pay it. Though the contrary is often assumed, there is no such necessary inference or implication as a matter of fact.29 This is shown by the fact that if a debt is barred by a discharge in bankruptcy an admission will not operate as a new promise to pay the debt; 30 nor will an admission by a discharged surety be effectual;31 nor, according to the weight of authority will an admission or part payment determine an infant's right to avoid his obligation.32 So in a jurisdiction which holds a widow bound by a new promise to pay an indebtedness which she purported to incur when incapacitated by marriage from doing so, it is held that a mere admission during her widowhood is insufficient to bind her; 33 but as to the Statute of Limitations it is well settled in most jurisdictions that "an unqualified acknowledgment of present indebtedness . . . unaccompanied with any evidence showing a determination not to pay " 34 is equivalent to a new promise.35 All the words of an acknowledgment, however, must be considered in order to determine whether the acknowledgment was unqualified and whether it was accompanied by any evidence showing a determination not to pay. The line drawn in regard to these matters can best be determined by an examination of the illustrations in the following sections.
27 Baillie v. Inchiquin, 1 Esp. 435 (Lord Kenyon ruled that a general acknowledgment "should be taken to apply to the debt in question; and that it should lie on the defendant to explain the promise so made and show that it applied to some other demand"); Frost v. Bengough, 1 Bing. 266; Morrell v. Ferrier, 7 Col. 22, 1 Pac. 94; Blackmore v. Neale, 15 Col. App. 49, 60 Pac 952; Cook v. Martin, 29 Conn. 63; Whitney v. Bigelow, 4 Pick. 110 (but in Bailey v. Crane, 21 Pick. 323, 324, the court said: "Had there been any other demands between the parties, it could not have been known to which it referred, and so it could not be applied to either."); Wilcox v. Williams, 5 Nev. 206; Howard p. Windom, 86 Tex. 560, 25 S. W. 483; Cotulla v. Urbahn, 104 Tex. 208, 135 S. W. 1159,34 L. R. A. (N. S.) 345. Bee also Doran v. Doran, 145 Ia. 122, 123 N. W. 996,25 L. R. A. (N. S.) 805.
28Opp v. Wack, 52 Ark. 288, 12 8. W. 565, 5 L. R. A. 743 (the written acknowledgment must identify the debt referred to if there are more than one); Stout v. Marshall, 75 Iowa, 498,
39 N. W. 808 (promise to pay "every cent that is due" made by one who owed several notes will not revive one which is barred); Pray v. Garcelon, 17 Me. 145 (general acknowledgment insufficient though no evidence of any debt other than that sued on); Whitney v. Reese, 11 Minn. 138, 148 ("When there are more debts than one due from the defendant to the plaintiff, it must appear to which it applies, or it cannot be applied to either,"); Anderson v. Nystrom, 103 Minn. 168, 114 N. W. 742, 13 L. R. A. (N. S.) 1141, 123 Am. St. Rep. 320; Allen v. Hillman, 69 Miss. 225, 13 So. 871; Braithwaite v. Harvey, 14 Mont. 208, 36 Pac. 38, 27 L. R. A. 101,43 Am. St. Rep. 625. See also Faison v. Bow-den, 72 N. C. 405; Landis v. Roth, 109 Pa. 621, 1 Atl. 49, 58 Am. Rep. 747. See also Boxley v. Gale, 19 Ala. 151; Walker v. Griggs, 32 Ga. 119.
29 See as to such inferences in cases not involving the Statute of limitations, Hegeman v. Moon, 131 N. Y. 462, 30 N. E. 487; Patterson v. Chapman, (Cal. 1919), 176 Pac. 37, 2 A. L. R. 1467.