Yet the creditor is not wholly without interest in the promise to pay his claim. That promise is a valuable right belonging to his debtor. If a solvent promisor has agreed to discharge a debt of the promisee to the amount of a thousand dollars, it is as real an increase of the assets of the promisee as a promise to pay the latter directly that sum, or indeed as the actual payment thereof. It should make no difference what form a debtor's assets take. The law should be able to reach them in whatever shape they may be, and compel their application to the payment of debts. Obviously a promise to pay a debt due from the promisee to a third person cannot be taken on an execution against the promisee, nor be the subject of garnishment. It cannot, at least before breach, be attached by creditors other than the one whose claim the promisor undertook to pay, for the promisor, if he is willing to perform his promise, cannot be compelled to do anything else.43 Nor can the very creditor whom the promisor undertook to pay generally garnishee the promisor under existing statutes, which usually provide for the attachment only of debts due the debtor, and here the promise is to pay not the debtor but the creditor. The aid of equity is, therefore, necessary in order to compel the application of such property even to this creditor's claim, and acting as it does by personal decree, equity can readily give the required relief. In a bill against the indebted promisee and the promisor, the court can order the promisor to perform his promise by paying the plaintiff. As the promisee is a party to the litigation, his rights will be concluded by such a decree, and the promisor will not be subjected to the hardship of the possibility of two actions against him by virtue of a single promise. As in the case of garnishment, the payment to the plaintiff will discharge the obligation to the promisee. Indeed the statutes permitting garnishment might readily be extended so as to cover this kind of transaction.44
42Infra, Sec. 1408.
43 Coleman v. Hatcher, 77 Ala. 217; Clinton Bank v. Studemann, 74 la. 104, 37 N. W. 112; Rickmon a. Miller, 39 Kan. 362, 18 Pac. 304; Edgell v. Tucker, 40 Mo. 523; Baker v. Eglin, 11 Oreg. 333, 8 Pac. 280; Vincent v. Watson, 18 Pa. 96; Putney v. Farnham, 27 Wis. 187, 9 Am. Rep. 459. See also Pounds v. Chatham, 96 Ind. 342. But one who has merely a revocable agency to pay a debt of his principal may be garnisheed by the latter's creditors. Mayer v. Chattahoochee Bank, 51 Ga. 326; Center v. McQues-ten, 18 Kan, 476.