A release may be subject to the happening of a condition precedent,18 and it has been held that it may also be subject to a condition subsequent.19 There seems difficulty in this result, however. It was a settled doctrine of the common law that a cause of action once discharged was gone forever. If such a release can be successfully pleaded to the action before the condition subsequent happens, a court of law must give judgment for the defendant, and if after the condition subsequent has happened an action is again brought on the same cause of action, the plea of res judicata seems unanswerable.20 The intention of the parties can be effectuated in great measure, however, by construing the so-called condition subsequent as a promise to pay the released claim in a given event. The creditor's right of action on the happening of that event would than be on the new promise contained in the release, not on the original cause of action. The seal on the release would support the promise, wherever seals still retain their efficacy.
18 Gibbons v. Vouillon, 8 C. B. 483; Corner v. Sweet, L. R. 1 C. P. 456.
19 Slater v. Jones, L. R. 8 Ex. 186; Newington v. Levy, L. R. 5 C. P. 607, L. R. 6 C. P. 180.
20 See Ford v. Beech, 11 Q. B. 852. Therefore, in Tyson v. Dorr, 6 Whart. 256, the condition subsequent was held void and the release absolute.