The acceptance of a paper which purports to be a contract sufficiently indicates an assent to its terms whatever they may be, and it is immaterial that they are, in fact, unknown.53 This principle finds illustrations in several kinds of cases. Thus the grantee under a deed poll who accepts the deed is bound, as a promisor54 to fulfill all undertakings expressed in the deed as made by him.55 And any writing signed by one court said: "No doubt the production of a recorded deed containing an assumption clause is sufficient to establish the personal liability of the grantee, in the absence of any other testimony. But when the agreement to assume the mortgage debt is denied, and there is no finding of an antecedent agreement to that effect, and the delivery and acceptance of the deed is under such circumstances as do not charge the grantee with actual knowledge of the existence of the assumption clause, and it is not found that he had such knowledge, the mere production of the deed containing such a clause is not enough to fix a personal liability for the debt upon the grantee. The principle that a party must be presumed to know the contents and meaning of a written instrument which he takes as evidence of title, does not extend so far as to conclusively impose on the grantee of mortgaged lands a collateral personal liability for the mortgage debt, founded upon a clause inserted in the deed without his knowledge and expressing an agreement which he has not made. 1 Jones on Mortgages (6th ed.), Sec.738; Swisher v. Palmer, 106 111. App. 432; Kilmer v. Smith, 77 N. Y. 226, 33 Am. Rep. 613; Blass v. Terry, 156 N. Y. 122, 50 N. E. 953; Demaria v. Rodgers, 110 Minn. 40, 124 N. W. 457." The Connecticut court in fact here was summarily reforming a contract. See infra, Sec. 1590. The grantee's acceptance of the deed can, it seems, mean nothing other than assent. See supra, Sec.35, though his assent might be revocable for fraud or mistake.
Westchester St. Ry. Co., 206 N. Y. 209,99 N. E. 636.
50Baker v. Walker, 14 Exch. 468; Cherokee County v. Meroney, 173 N. C 653, 92 S. E. 616.
51Springer v. Cooper, 11 111. App. 267; Rogers v. Becker-Brainard Machine Co., 211 Mass. 669, 98 N. E 592; Atlantic Pebble Co. v. Lehigh Valley R, 89 N. J. L. 336, 98 Atl. 410. In Scully v. Roche, 76 N. Y. Misc. 468, 135 N. Y. Supp. 633, a tenant who held over his term after being notified that increased rent would be required, was held bound to pay it. See also Emerson v. Stereos Grocer Co., 95 Ark. 421, 130 S W. 641,106 Ark. 576,151 S. W. 1003, and supra, Sec. 22a.
53Watkins v. Rymill, 10 Q. B. D. 178, 188; Raffel v. Clark, 87 Coon. 567, 89 Atl. 184, stated infra, n. 55, and Haikins p. Young, 89 Conn. 66, 92 Atl.877.
54 It is not important here to go into the disputed question whether the grantee can properly be called a covenantor and be sued in covenant, or whether his liability is on a simple contract for breach of which assumpsit is the proper remedy. As to this see infra, Sec. 214.
55 Felker v. Rice, 110 Ark. 70, 161 S. W. 162; Atlanta, etc., Ry. Co. v. MoKinney, 124 Ga. 929, 63 3. E. 701, 6 L. R. A. (N. S.) 436, 110 Am. St. Rep. 215; Sanitary District v. Chicago etc Trust Co., 278 111. 529, 116 N. E. 161; Brockmeyer v. Sanitary District, 118 111. App. 49; Sexauer v. Wilson, 136 Ia. 357,113 N. W. 941,14 L. R. A. (N. S.) 1S5; Midland Ry. Co. v. Fisher, 125 Ind. 19, 24 N. E. 766, 8 L. R. A. 604, 21 Am. St. Rep. 189; Pariah v. Whitney, 3 Gray, 616; Nugent v. Riley, 1 Mete. 117, 35 Am. Dec. 355; Hickey v. Lake Shore etc. R., 51 Ohio St. 40, 36 N. E. 672, 23 L. R. A. 396, 46 Am. St. 546. But in Raffel v. Clark, 87 Conn. 567, 571, 89 Atl 184, the party and orally assented to by the other binds both, except so far as the Statute of Frauds provides the contrary.56 Indeed any written contract though signed by one party only, binds the other if he accepts the writing.57 On the same principle "a defectively executed instrument, either a lease or a deed, when made by the owner, may be enforced against him as a contract to make a lease or deed for the reason that it is his contract." 58