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.
The acceptance of an offer for a promise must, furthermore, correspond to the offer at every point, leaving nothing open for future negotiations.1 An attempted acceptance which leaves open the adjustment of the price,2 or the ascertainment of the capacity of the ship chartered, where that is a material term of the offer,3 or the time of delivery,4 or of payment,5 or an acceptance as to the price only,6 is without validity. If A offers to sell lumber, and B sends an order which purports to be an acceptance, subject to usual wharfage and inspection charges; and A replies that inspection will not be necessary unless some of the lumber was not in accordance with the terms of the order, and says nothing about wharfage charges, and B then adds that under certain contingencies there may be an additional charge of three dollars per car; and A does not acquiesce in such additional charge per car while B does not waive his demand that the goods should be subject to wharfage and inspection charges, no contract exists. There is merely a series of offers and counteroffers; but no acceptance.7 If A offers to sell to B a certain described tract of land and B's agent writes to A, "the matter is closed and the rights of way as I understand are included as we talked over," such acceptance does not conform to the offer and no contract exists.8 A tender of a part of a disputed claim as payment in full must be accepted or rejected as an entirety. The payment can not be accepted, but the offer thereof as payment in full rejected.9 If an offer is made in the alternative, of goods at a certain price per bushel, or of such goods at a certain payment in advance per car, an acceptance "for two cars," is too indefinite to complete the contract.10
1 United States. Compania Bilbaina, etc., v. Spanish, etc., Co., 146 U. S. 483, 36 L. ed. 1054.
Arkansas. Garnet Carter Co. v. Carver, 132 Ark. 305, 200 S. W. 984.
Connecticut. Mercer Electric Mfg. Co. v. Connecticut Electric Mfg. Co., 87 Conn. 601, 80 Atl. 009.
Georgia. Monk v. McDaniel, 116 Ga. 108, 42 S. E. 360.
Kansas. Nieschburg v. Nothern, 101 Kan. 110, 165 Ac. 857.
Massachusetts. Sibley v. Felton, 156 Mass. 273, 31 N. E. 10; Callanan v. Chapin, 158 Mass. 113, 32 N. E. 941; Mark v. Stuart-Howland Co., 226 Mass. 35, 115 N. E. 42; Kehlor Flour Mills Co. v. Linden, 230 Mass. 119, 119 N. E. 698.
Michigan. Board of Trade v. De-Bruyn, 138 Mich. 187, 101 N. W. 262.
Minnesota. Kull v. Wilson, 137 Minn. 127, 162 N. W. 1072.
Mississippi. Yazoo & M. V. R. Co. v. Jones, 114 Miss. 787, 75 So. 650.
Missouri. State, exrel., v. Robertson (Mo.), 191 S. W. 989.
Nebraska. Krum v. Chamberlain, 57 Neb. 220, 77 N. W. 665; Frahm v. Metcalf, 75 Neb. 241, 106 N. W. 227.
North Carolina. Cherokee Tanning Extract Co. v. Western Union Tel. Co., 143 N. Car. 376, 118 Am. St. Rep. 806, 55 S. E. 277; Morrison v. Parks, 164 N. Car. 197, 80 S. E. 85.
North Dakota. Kvale v. Keane, - N. D. - , 168 N. W. 74.
Virginia. Virginia, etc., Co. v. Harrison, 93 Va. 569, 25 S. E. 888.
Washington. Richardton Roller Mills v. Miller, 99 Wash. 654, 170 Ac. 357.
2 Sault Ste., etc., Co. v. Simons, 41 Fed. 835; Somers v. Musolf, 86 Ark. 97, 109 S. W. 1173.
3 Wilfred v. Myers, 40 Fed. 170.
4 Decker v. Gwinn, 95 Ga. 518, 20 S. E. 240.
5 Shepard v. Carpenter, 54 Minn. 153, 55 N. W. 906.
6 Davenport v. Newton, 71 Vt. 11, 42 Atl. 1087 [citing Potts v. Whitehead, 23 N. J. Eq. 512].
Two separate offers may be accepted by one letter or telegram.11