A telegraph company's contract made with the sender of a telegram to deliver it to the person addressed is sometimes treated as a contract made for the sole benefit of the latter, who is allowed to sue for this reason.17 In some cases this construction is fair enough, but senders of telegrams perhaps more frequently are seeking objects of their own rather than the benefit of another.
14 It should be observed that a carrier while engaged in transporting mail is not a common carrier, but an agency of government, and as much subject to its laws and regulations as every other branch of the post office.
15 United States v. American Surety Co., 165 Fed. 941; United States v. Atlantic Coast Line R. Co., 206 Fed. 190; Boston Insurance Company v. Chicago, etc., By. Co., 118 Iowa, 423, 92 N. W. 88, 59 L. R. A. 796.
16Nolton v. Western Railroad, 15 N. Y. 444, 69 Am. Dec. 623.
17 Western Union Tel. Co. v. Hope,
11 111. App. 289, 291 (but see Western Union Tel. Co. v. Dubois, 128 HI. 248, 21 N. E. 4, 15 Am. St. Rep. 109); Western Union Tel. Co. v. Fenton, 52 Ind. 1, 3 (statutory); Market v. Western Union Tel. Co., 19 Mo. App. 80 (statutory); Aiken v. Western Union Tel. Co., 5 S. C. 358; Western Union Tel. Co. v. Jones, 81 Tex. 271,16 S. W. 1006. The cases allowing a right of action, based on various reasons, are collected in Joyce on Electric Law, Sec. 1008; Wyman, Public Service Corporations, Sec.348.
One of the numerous ways of making out a fictitious consideration for charitable subscriptions is to regard the promises of the subscribers as mutual promises to pay the beneficiary, who is then allowed to sue as on a contract made for its benefit.18 In fact, in such subscriptions the promise of each subscriber on a fair construction, almost always runs directly to the beneficiary or to trustees representing it. The subscribers do not mutually promise one another.
In a New Jersey case 19 the beneficiary was undetermined when the contract was made. The defendant contracted to pay $750 to the owner of the foal by the defendant's stallion that first trotted a mile in 2.30. The plaintiff who answered the description was allowed to sue on the contract though not a party to it.20 So the winner of a "popularity contest" instituted by a newspaper was allowed to recover the prize, though the contract must have been made with the voters and the winner was indeterminate until the end of the contest.21