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.
While the courts lean strongly against construing an offer as calling for acceptance by the performance of an act, and while they lean strongly in favor of construing an offer as calling for acceptance by a counter-promise,1 yet where it appears clearly that the offer is to be accepted by doing a specified act, the courts do not incline to add the requirement of communication of acceptance.2 If the offer provides that it is to be accepted by doing certain acts, and does not provide for communication of acceptance as well as the doing of such acts, the doing of such acts amounts to an acceptance, although such acceptance is not as yet communicated to the offeror.3 An offer of a carrier to transport goods may be so made, either by express terms or by the actual understanding
8 Maine. Moore v. McKenney, 83 Me. 80, 23 Am. St. Rep. 753, 21 Atl. 749.
Massachusetts. Howe v. Taggart, 133 Mass. 284.
New York. Strong v. Sheffield, 144 N. Y. 392, 39 N. E. 330 [an obiter, as no consideration was shown for A's promise]; Elting v. Vanderlyn, 4 Johns. (N. Y.) 237.
1 See Sec. 189.
2 Carlill v. Carbolic Smoke Ball Co. (1802), 2 Q. B. 484, (1893) 1 Q. B. 256; Michigan Stove Co. v. Pueblo Hardware Co., 51 Colo. 160, 116 Ac. 340; Morse v. Bellows, 7 N. H. 549, 28 Am. Dec. 372.
3 England. Carlill v. Carbolic Smoke Ball Co. (1893), 1 Q. B. 256 [affirming Carlill v. Carbolic Smoke Ball Co. (1892), 2 Q. B. 484].
Alabama. Sanford v. Howard, 29 Ala. 684, 68 Am. Dec. 101; Mott v. Jackson, 172 Ala. 448, 55 So. 528.
California. Wilson v. Stump, 103 Cal. 255, 42 Am. St. Rep. Ill, 37 Ac. 151.
Colorado. Michigan Stove Co. v. Pueblo Hardware Co., 51 Colo. 160, 116 Ac. 340.
District of Columbia. Minton v. Piano of the parties, that it may be accepted by placing the goods at a designated place without notice to the carrier.4 An offer to transport goods by steamboat if the goods are placed at the margin of the river by a certain time, is accepted by placing the goods there in accordance with the terms of the offer.5 An offer to pay a certain compensation for loading goods upon a car in a distant city, is accepted by loading such goods.6 Express notice of acceptance may be unnecessary, even where the parties are in personal communication when the offer is made. Thus notice of acceptance was held unnecessary where A offered to give five thousand dollars to any person who would bring the body of A's wife, dead or alive, from a burning building, and B without giving notice of acceptance entered such building and brought the dead body of A's wife therefrom.7
Co., 36 D. C. App. 137, 33 L. R. A. (N.S.) 305.
Illinois. Wilson v. McClure, 50 111. 366.
Indiana. Hayden v. Souger, 56 Ind. 42.
Maryland. Sharp v. Bates, 102 Md. 344, 62 Atl. 747.
Massachusetts. Train v. Gould, 22 Mass. (5 Pick.) 380.
Mississippi. Atkinson v. Whitney, 67 Miss. 655, 7 So. 644.
Missouri. Allen v. Chateau, 102 Mo. 309, 14 S. W. 869.
New Hampshire. Morse v. Bellows, 7 N. H. 549, 28 Am. Dec. 372.
New York. Mactier v. Frith, 6 Wend. (N. Y.) 103, 21 Am. Dec. 262; Cox v. Stokes, 156 N. Y. 491, 51 N. E. 316.
North Carolina. Cook v. Cowan, 64 N. Car. 743.
Pennsylvania. Patton v. Hassinger, 69 Pa. St. 311; Hoffman v. Ry., 157 Pa. St. 174, 27 Atl. 564.
Tennessee. Yancey v. Brown, 35 Tenn. (3 Sneed) 89.
Wisconsin. Reif v. Paige, 55 Wis. 496, 42 Am. Rep. 731, 13 N. W. 473; Zwolanek v. Baker Mfg. Co., 150 Wis. 517, 137 N. W. 769.
4 Montgomery & Eufaula Ry. v. Kolb, 73 Ala. 396, 49 Am. Rep. 54; Mott v. Jackson, 172 Ala. 448, 55 So. 528; Merriam v. Hartford & New Haven Ry., 20 Conn. 354; Green v. Milwaukee & St. Paul Ry., 38 la. 100; Dunning-ton v. Louisville & Nashville Ry., 153 Ky. 388, 255 S. W. 750; Blackwell v. Oregon Short Line Ry., 82 Or. 303, 161 Ac. 565. "If therefore, they agree that the property may be deposited for transportation at any particular place, and without any express notice to the carrier, such deposit merely would be a sufficient delivery. So if, in this case, the defendants had not agreed to dispense with express notice of the delivery of the property on their dock, actual notice thereof to them would have been necessary; but if there was such an agreement, the deposit of it there, merely, would amount to constructive notice to the defendants, and constitute an acceptance of it by them. And we have no doubt, that the proof by the plaintiff of a constant and habitual practice and usage of the defendants to receive property at their dock for transportation, in the manner in which it was deposited by the plaintiff, and without any special notice of such deposit, was competent, and in this case, sufficient to show a public offer, by the defendants, to receive property for that purpose, in that mode; and that the delivery of it there accordingly by the plaintiff, in pursuance of such offer, should be deemed a compliance with it on his part; and so to constitute an agreement between the parties, by the terms of which the property, if so deposited, should be considered as delivered to the defendants without any further notice. Such practice and usage were tantamount to an open declaration, a public advertisement by the defendants, that such delivery should 'of itself, be deemed an acceptance of it by them, for the purpose of transportation; and to permit them to set up against those who had been thereby induced to omit it, the formality of an express notice, which had thus been waived, would be sanctioning the greatest injustice, and the most palpable fraud": Merriam v. Hartford and New Haven R. Co., 20 Conn. 354.
See also, Georgia Southern & Florida Ry. v. Marchman, 121 Ga. 235, 48 S. E. 961.
Contra: Under 34 U. S. Stat. at L. 584, c. 3591, Sec. 20 (the Carmack Amendment), which provides for a uniform bill of lading; which in fact contains a clause to the effect that in such cases the goods shall be at the owner's risk: Standard Combed Thread Co. v. Pennsylvania Ry., 88 N. J. L. 257, L. R. A. 1916C, 606, 95 Atl. 1002.
See also, The Beginning of Liability of Carrier of Goods, by Jos. H. Beale, Jr., 15 Yale Law Journal, 207.
5 Mott v. Jackson, 172 Ala. 448, 55 So. 528.
6 Michigan Stove Co. v. Hardware Co., 51 Colo. 160, 116 Ac. 340.