This section is from the book "The Law Of Contracts", by William Herbert Page. Also available from Amazon: Commercial Contracts: A Practical Guide to Deals, Contracts, Agreements and Promises.
3 Eagle Mill Co. v. Caven, 76 Mo. App. 458.
4Maclay v. Harvey, 90 111. 525, 32 Am. Rep. 35. (A delay of two days by carelessness of a boy entrusted with the letter. But in Palmer v. Ins. Co., 84 N. Y. 63, it was held that an acceptance on the same day but not by return mail, was sufficient); Ackerman v. Maddux, 26 N. D 50, 143 N. W. 147.
5 Home v. Niver, 168 Mass. 4, 46 N. E. 393.
6 Commercial Bank v. Weldon, 148 Cal. 601, 84 Ac. 171.
7 Commercial Bank v. Weldon, 148 Cal. 601, 84 Ac. 171.
8 Strother v. Miller (Ky.), 124 S. W. 358.
9 Page v. Shainwald, 169 N. Y. 246, 57 L. R. A. 173, 62 X. E. 356.
10 Page v. Shainwald, 169 N. Y. 246, 57 L. R. A. 173, 62 N. E. 356.
1 Marr v. Shaw, 51 Fed. 860.
2 Mitchell v. Abbott, 86 Me. 338, 41 Am. St. Rep. 559, 29 Atl. 1118, 25 L. R. A. 503.
3 Wemple v. Elevator Co., 67 Minn. 87, 69 N. W. 478.
4 Union Sawmill Co. v. Mitchell, 122 La. 900, 48 So. 317.
six months,5 three months,6 and one month,7 have been held to be unreasonable. Past transactions between the parties may be considered to determine what a reasonable time is.8 Where the market was ready to open, and letters between the parties had always been answered in three days, a delay of six days was held unreasonable.9 A delay of four days in accepting an offer made by telegraph, causes the offer to lapse, the parties being in the habit of accepting such orders by telegraph and promptly.10
An offer by A to B to pay to B the amount of a bond held by X, if B would induce X to assign such bond to B, is said to be one which may reasonably remain open for two years.11 A delay of seven days:12 or of four days in case of an offer to sell land;13 or a delay of three days,14 have been held not to be unreasonable and not to cause the offer to lapse. An acceptance by telegram and mail on Monday evening of an offer which arrived on Saturday after business hours, and was not received by the offeree until Monday morning, is made in time.15 Where the offer to sell land was accepted in seventeen days, a note and defective mortgage were tendered in six days more, and a valid mortgage in twenty-one days more, such delay was held not to be unreasonable.16 In an offer for the sale of goods, the market value of which is changing, a delay of six days,17 two days,18 or one day,19 has been held to be unreasonable. If the offer is to pay a reward for the conviction of the criminals who are engaged in a series of criminal acts, and it is evidently intended to prevent the further commission of such acts, a delay of almost four years has been held to be unreasonable.20 Extrinsic evidence of surrounding facts is admissible in connection with a written offer to show what is a reasonable time for acceptance.21
5 Park v. Whitney, 148 Mass. 278, 19 N. E. 161.
6 Brown Bros. Lumber Co. v. Preston Mill Co., 83 Wash. 648, 145 Ac. 964.
7 Bowser v. Fountain, 128 Minn. 108, 150 N. W. 795; Dillingham v. Labatt (Tex. Civ. App.), 30 S. W. 370. (Tn this case rates of shipment were asked, which were accepted a month later after a new rate had been asked for.)
8 Hargadine-McKittrick Dry Goods Co. v. Reynolds, 64 Fed. 560; Ferguson v. West Coast Shingle Co., 96 Ark. 27, 130 S. W. 527.
9 Hargadine, etc., Co. v. Reynolds, 64 Fed. 560.
10 Ferguson v. West Coast Shingle Co., 96 Ark. 27, 130 S. W. 527.
11 Morse v. Bellows, 7 N. H. 549, 28 Am. Dec. 372.
12 Kempner v. Cohn, 47 Ark. 519, 58 Am. Rep. 775, 1 S. W. 869.
13 Gough v. Loomis, 123 la. 642, 99 N. W. 295.
14 South Branch Cheese Co. v. American Butter & Cheese Co., 191 Mich. 507, 158 N. W. 158.
15 James E. Mitchell & Co. v. Wallace (Ky.), 87 S. W. 303.
16 Phillips v. Deck, 76 Cal. 384, 18 Ac. 336.
17 Hargadine-McKittrick Co. v. Reynolds, 64 Fed. 560.
18 Averill v. Hedge, 12 Conn. 424.
19 Minnesota Oil Co. v. Collier Lead Co., 4 Dillon 431, Fed. Cas. No. 9635.