It was laid down in the leading case of Adams v. Lindsell,77 that the offerors must be regarded "As making during every instant of the time their letter was travelling the same identical offer to the plaintiffs." And this statement has been often repeated. If it is to be taken literally, it would follow that a complete offer is made at the instant that a letter containing it is mailed. If this merely means that the offerer has then completed the only act or manifestation of assent he is called upon to make, no fault can be found with the statement; but if it is meant that the letter becomes an offer capable of ripening into a contract without reference to the offeree's knowledge of the existence of the offer, the statement is at variance with fundamental theories of contract. Yet the English court not only in cases of reward 78 but in other connections has gone to this extreme.79 The truth of the matter has been
771B.&Aid. 681. 78 Bee supra, Sec. 33, n. 72. 79Taylor v. Jones, 1 C. P. D. 87 (C A.) In this case a letter containing an offer to buy goods was mailed in London to the plaintiff in Surrey. No letter was sent accepting the offer, but the goods requested were taken by a expressed by Lindley, J.:"a letter is a continuing offer or order, or statement by the sender which takes effect in the place where the person to whom it is sent receives it."80
Sec. 35. Negligent appearance of assent may bind the parties though the actual offer not communicated. Throughout the formation of contracts it is to be observed that not assent, but what the other party is justified as regarding as assent, is essential. Accordingly if an offeree in ignorance of the terms of an offer so acts or expresses himself as to justify the other party in inferring assent, and this action or expression was of such a character that a reasonable man in the position of the offeree should have known it was calculated to deceive the offeror into the belief that his offer had been accepted, a contract will be formed in spite of the offeree's ignorance of the terms of the offer. The commonest illustration of this principle is where one who is ignorant of the language in which a document is written,81 or who is illiterate executes, under a mistake as to its contents, a writing proposed as a contract. He is bound, if he did not require the document to be read to him82 and much more if the signer savant of the plaintiff and delivered to the defendant in London. Action was brought in the Mayor's Court in London, the jurisdiction of which is confined to causes of action arising wholly within the City. It was con-ceded that this limitation of jurisdiction required both the offer and the acceptance to have been made in the City. The court, upheld the jurisdiction, holding that the order was given when the letter containing it was potted. See also Reg. v. Holmes, 12 Q, B. D. 23; Holland v. Bennett , 1 K.B.867(C.A.). Cp.Edmundsoni v. Bander,  2 Ch. 320; Burton p. United States, 202 U. S. 344, 386, SO L Ed. 1057; Commonwealth Ins. Co. v. Knabe, 171 Mass. 266, SO N. E. 516; Ferry v. Mt. Hope Iron Co., 15 R. I. 380, 5 Atl 632, 2 Am. St. Rep. 902. In the three cases last cited it was held that a contract was made in the place from which an acceptance was dispatched, though the offer had been sent from another State. In the first of these cases it was held that where the making of such a contract was a crime on the part of the offeror, the place of the acceptance was the place where the crime was committed by the offeree.
80 Bennett v. Coagriff, 38 L. T. Rep. (N. S.) 177. See also Harris v. Scott, 67 N. H. 437, 32 Atl. 770.
81 Constantine v. McDonald, 25 Ida. 342, 137 Pac. 531.
82Stern v. Moneyweight Scale Co., 42 App. Dist. Col. 162; Shulman v. Moser, 284 111. 134, 119 N. E. 936; Robinson v. Glass, 94 Ind. 211; Roach v. Karr, 18 Kaon. 529, 28 Am. Rep. 788; Leddy v. Barney, 139 Mass. 394, 2 N. E. 107; Morstad v. Atchison, Ac. Ry. Co., 23 N. Mex. 663,170 Pac. 886; Hallenbeck v. Dewitt, 2 Johns. 404; of a writing is not illiterate, "it will not do for him to enter into a contract and when called upon to abide by its conditions, say that he did not read it when he signed it, or did not know what it contained." 83 This principle is not carried so far, however, as to hold a party who carelessly failed to read a paper which he signed, liable to one who knew of the signer's ignorance and fraudulently induced it or took advantage of it.84 A similar principle is applicable to the offeror's conduct as to the offeree's. If the offeror prepared the writing and failed therein to express his meaning, he no more than the acceptor .could evade its effect. Further, where a maker through confidence or neglect intrusts to a third party a blank non-negotiable bond which the latter completes by filling the blanks and delivers to an innocent obligee, the maker is bound by the terms of the completed instrument though filled out in violation of authority.85 Here, however, there has been no real manifestation of assent by the maker. His liability depends rather on estoppel than on expressed mutual assent. Such estoppels have more generally been applied to negotiable paper86 than to other writings, but seem fairly applicable to the latter.87 Even the drawing of negotiable paper without entire blanks, but in such form as to make alteration obviously possible has been held to render the maker liable to a bona fide purchaser. This, however, is disputed,88 and it v. Bridges, 43 Okl. 813, 144 Pac. 577; Ames v. Milam, (Okl. 1916), 157 Pae, 941; Rater v. University Lumber Co., 65 Or.46, 131 Pac 736; Hyde ». Kirk-patrick,78 Or.466,153 Pac. 41; Greenfield's State, 14 Pa. St. 489,496; Pennsylvania R. Co. v Shay, 82 Pa. St. 198; Johnston v. Patterson, 114 Pa. St. 308, 6 Atl. 746; Weil v. Quidnick Co., 33 R. I. 58, 80 Atl. 447; Bishop v. Allen, 55 Vt. 423; Sanger v. Dun, 47 Wis. 615, 620, 3 N. W. 388, 32 Am. Sep. 789; Ross Northnip, 156 Wis. 327, 144 N. W. 1124; International Text Book Co. v. Mabbott, 159 Wis. 423, 160 N. W. 429; McMillen v. Strange, 159 Wis. 271,150 N.W. 434. In Williams v. Laseti, 72 N. J. L. 410, 80 Atl. 1096, the defendant testified, when sued on a written contract for the purchase of books, that the plaintiffs agent told him that be wanted to get some influential citizens to indorse the work and the defendant signed the slip supposing that it was merely an indorsement of the work. This was held insufficient to excuse him. That one's eyes are weak, and he is a poor reader, will not exonerate him. McDonald v. McKinney Nursery Co., 44 Okl. 62, 143 P. 191. But in Haskins v. Young, 89 Conn. 66, 92 Atl. 877, the grantee of land was held not bound by an undertaking oontained in the deed to assume a mortgage, in the absence of knowledge on his part that the deed contained such a provision. See infra, Sec.Sec. 90, 95.
Bauerir. Roth, 4 Rawle, 83,94; Weller's Appeal, 103 Pa. St. 694. In Shores-Mueller Co. v. Lonning, 159 la. 95, 140 N. W. 197, it was held to be a question of fact under all the circumstances of the case whether the signer was negligent. See also Miller v. Spokane Internal:. R. Co., 82 Wash. 170, 143 Pac. 981.
83 Upton v. Tribilcock, 91 U. S. 46, 50, 23 L. Ed. 203; Hazard v. Griswold, 21 Fed. 178; Stutz v. Handley, 41 Fed 531, 534; Travellers' Ins. Co. v. Henderson, 69 Fed. 762, 768, 16 C. C. A. 390; Lumley v. Railway Co., 76 Fed. 66, 22 C. C. A. 60, rev'g 71 Fed. 21; Royston v. Miller, 76 Fed. 50; Chicago etc. Ry. Co. v. Belliwith, 83 Fed. 437,28 C. C. A. 358; New York Life Ins. Co. p. McMaster, 87 Fed. 63,67,30 C. C. A. 632; Wagner v. Natl. Life Ins. Co., 90 Fed. 395, 407, 33 C. C. A. 121; Chicago ft A. Ry. Co. v. Green, 114 Fed. 676; Hickman v. Sawyer, 216 Fed. 281, 132 C. C. A. 425; Bailey <>. Lisle Mfg. Co., 238 Fed. 257, 152 C. C. A. 3; Hoahaw v. Coegriff, 247 Fed. 22, 159 C. C. A. 240; Goetter v. Pickett, 61 Ala. 387; Dawson v. Burrus & Williams, 73 Ala. 1ll; Martin v. Smith, 116 Als. 639, 22 So. 917; Prestwood v. Carlton, 162 Ala. 327, 50 So. 254; Greil v. Til. lis, 170 Ala. 391, 54 So. 524; Birmingham Ry. L. & P. Co. v. Jordan, 170 Als. 530, 54 So. 280; Alosi v. Birmingham Water Works Co., 1 Als. App. 630, 65 So. 1029; Ingram v. Coleman, 110 Ark. 632, 160 S. W. 886; Stone v. Prescott, etc.. District, 119 Ark. 553, 178 S. W. 399; Placer Bank v. Freeman, 126 Cal. 90, 58 Pac. 388; Baltimore & O. R. Co. v. Morgan, 35 App. D. C. 195; Brooks v. Matthews, 78 Ga. 739, 3 S. E. 627; Jossey v. Georgia, etc., Ry. Co., 109 Ga. 439, 84 S. E. 664; Georgia
Medicine Co. v. Hyman, 117 Ga. 861, 45 S. E. 238; Newsome v. Harrell, 146 Ga. 139, 90 S. E. 855; Black v. Wabash, etc, Ry. Co., 1ll 111. 351, 53 Am. Rep. 628; Rogers v. Place, 29 Ind. 577; American Ins. Co. v. McWhorter, 78 Ind. 136; McCormaok v. Molburg, 43 Iowa, 561; Wallace v. Chicago, etc., Ry. Co., 67 Iows, 647, 25 N. W. 772; Bonnot Co. v. Newman, 108 Iows, 158, 78 N. W. 817; Carper v. Ridpath, 168 ls. 22,149 N. W. 841; Custer v. Oliver, 93 Kans. 760,145 Pac. 554; J. I. Case Threshing Machine Co. v. Mattingly, 142 Ky. 581, 134 S. W. 1131; J. M. Case Mill Mfg. Co. v. Vickers, 147 Ky. 396, 144 S. W. 76; United Talking Mach. Co. v. Metealf, 164 Ky. 258, 175 S. W. 357; Bowen v. Chenoa Bjg-nite Co., 168 Ky. 588, 182 S. W. 630; Maine Mutual Marine Ins. Co. v. Hodgkms, 66 Me. 109; Eldridge v. Dexter ft P. R. Co., 88 Me. 191, 33 Atl. 974; Watktns Medical Co. v. Stahl seems clear that no court would apply such a doctrine to non-negotiable contracts.89
117 Me. 190, 103 Atl. 70; Bakhaus v. Caledonian Ins. Co., 112 Md. 676, 77 Atl. 310; McGrath v. Peterson, 127 Md. 412, 96 Atl. 551; Jackson v. Ol-ney, 140 Mass. 195, 4 N. E. 225; Nouree v. Jennings, 180 Mass. 592, 62 N. E. 974; Fay v. Hunt, 190 Mass. 378, 77 N. E. 502; Cannon v. Burrefl, 193 Mass. 534, 79 N. E. 780; McKinnon v. Boston, etc., R., 217 Mass. 274, 104 N. E. 446; Lisks v. Lodge, 112 Mich. 635,71 N. W. 171; Zellarr. Ranson, 140 Mo. App. 220,123 8. W. 1016; Sanden v. Northern Pac. Ry. Co., 43 Mont 209, 115 Pac. 408; Pragi v. Lehigh Coal ft Nav. Co., 176 N. Y. App. D. 265, 162 N. Y. S. 1011; Howell v. Bloom, 117 N. Y. Bupp. 893; Dellinger v. Gillespie,
118 N. C. 737, 24 S. E. 538; Leonard v. Southern Power Co., 155 N. C. 10, 70 S. E. 1061; Colonial Jewelry Co.
84 See infra, Sec.Sec. 1516, 1577.
85 Gronvold v. Federal Union Surety Co., 212 Fed. 908, 129 C. C. A. 428. See also infra, Sec. 1247.
86 Negot. Inst Law, Sec. 14. See in-fro, Sec.1141; 1 Daniel, Neg. Inst., Sec.Sec. 142, 843.
87 See Union Credit Bank v. Mersey, etc., Board , 2 Q. B. 205.
88See infra, Sec.1909. 2 Darnel, Neg, Inst., Sec. 1405.