The effect of a promise to pay when able is of legal importance not simply with reference to debts barred by the Statute of Limitations, but in other cases. Such promises when supported by consideration are generally, though not universally, upheld and enforced according to their natural meaning.55 If the propriety of treating the existence of a barred debt as sufficient support for a promise is admitted, there seems no reason why such promises should not similarily be enforced when the Statute of Limitations is involved. That is, the new promise should bind the promisor to pay on the condition, and only on the condition that he becomes able to do so. This is the generally accepted rule.56 So a promise to pay when a certain estate is settled,57 or a promise to pay if on looking the matter up in his books the promisor found that it had not already been paid,58 is given effect according to its terms. Moreover, since the creditor first acquires a new right of action when the time for performance of the debtor's promise arrives, it follows that the debt is revived for a new statutory period computed from the time when the promise should have been performed, not from the time when it was made.59
52 Will v. Marker, 122 Iowa, 627, 98 N. W. 487.
53 Rumsey v. Settle's Est., 120 Mich. 372, 79 N. W. 679; Crandall v. Mos-ton, 42 N. Y. App. Div. 629, 59 N. Y. S. 146.
54 Earle v. Oliver, 2 Exch. 71, 90; Gillingham v. Brown, I78 Mass. 417,60 N. E. 122, 55 L. R. A. 320. See also Strong v. Andres, 34 App. D. C. 278; Galvin v.O'Gorman,40 Mont.39l, 103 Pac. 887; Equitable Trust Co. v. Mac-Laire, 77 N. Y. Misc. 116,135 N. Y. 8. 1022; and infra \ 196.
55See infro. Sec.804.
56 Davies v. Smith, 4 Esp. 36; Scales v. Jacob, 3 Bing. 638; Tanner v. Smart.
6 B. & C. 603; Edmunds v. Downes, 2 C. & M. 459; Lusher v. Hassard, 20 T. L. Rep. 31, 563; Richardson v. Brisker, 7 Col. 58, I Pao. 433, 49 Am. Rep. 344; Sedgwick v. Gerding, 55 Ga. 264; Boone v. A'Hern, 98 111. App. 610; Desell v. Thayer, 2 Kans. App. 587, 44 Pac. 686; Chism v. Barnes, 104 Ky. 310, 317, 47 S. W. 232, 875; Mattocks v. Chadwick, 71 Me. 313; Bidwell v. Rogers, 10 Allen, 438; Gill v. Gibson, 225 Mass. 226,114 N. E. 198; Halladay v. Weeks, 127 Mich. 363,86 N. W. 799, 89 Am. St. Rep. 478; Wilcox v. Williams, 5 Nev. 206; Barker v. Heath, 74 N. H. 270, 67 Atl. 222; Parker v. Butterworth, 46 N. J. L. 244, 50 Am.