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 party making the offer may prescribe a mode in which acceptance must be made, if at all. Unless the party who makes the offer subsequently modifies his requirements, expressly or impliedly, he can not be bound by an acceptance in any other form.1 Thus A made B an offer by messenger, acceptance to be delivered to the messenger. The messenger said that he was not sure that he would return to A; and B, with good cause, thought that an acceptance by letter would reach A sooner and more certainly than an acceptance by messenger. B mailed a letter of acceptance to A, but to the address from which A was temporarily absent, so that A did not receive the letter until after the return of the messenger. The messenger returned to A before the letter reached him. It was held that A was justified in treating his offer as having lapsed, as soon as the messenger returned without an acceptance.2 If the offer requires an acceptance to be made in writing, no other form of acceptance can be made.3 Where the proposal required acceptance "by wire or otherwise," it could be accepted by telegram or personal verbal acceptance.4 So an offer to be effective upon certain conditions can be accepted only by performing such conditions.5 So an option to be accepted by paying a certain sum of money can not be accepted by words only.6 Such an offer can be accepted only by payment or tender of the money.7 An offer to sell property which, by its terms, is to be accepted by making a specified payment, can not be accepted by a promise to make such payments in the future,8 or by giving notice of such acceptance without making such payment9 If A offers land to B, to be accepted only by paying one-third of the purchase money and accepting the option within a certain time, B can accept only by paying such amount and accepting such option within such time.10 An offer to be accepted by payment of certain sums of money at certain specified dates, which does not bind the adversary party to make such payments, is not accepted until all of such payments have been made.11 If an offer calls for acceptance by doing a prescribed act and also by promising to do certain acts in the future, such offer can not be accepted by a promise to perform all of such acts including the act, performance of which was to amount to acceptance.12 If A offers to buy a certain quantity of property from B to be delivered and paid for in the future, and in such offer A stipulates that he will give bond for a certain amount conditioned upon his acceptance of such property and payment therefor, the acceptance by B does not complete the contract until A has given such bond.13 Offers of rewards for doing certain acts can be accepted only by doing such acts, an oral acceptance of such offer without doing such act being of no effect in law;14 though considered as a counter-offer, it might be accepted in turn. So offers of subscriptions in consideration of incurring certain obligations can be accepted only by incurring such obligations.15 If an offer provides for acceptance by prompt acknowledgment, it can not be accepted unless such offer is acknowledged.16 If an offer is to be accepted by a promise, the performance of acts thereunder is not an acceptance.17 The performance of work under an entire contract of employment is not an acceptance if the parties treat the liability arising out of such performance as divisible.18
21 Bartlett v. Doyle, 161 Wis. 624, 155 N. W. 125.
22 New York Architectural Terra Cotta Co. v. Williams, 184 N. Y. 579, 77 N. E. 1192 [affirming New York Architectural Terra Gotta Co. v. Williams, 102 App. Div. 1, 92 N. Y. Sup. 808].
1 Wiswell v. Bresnahan, 84 Me. 397, 24 Atl. 885; Farmers' Produce Company v. Schreiner, 48 Okla. 488, L. R. A. 1916A, 1297 [sub nomine: Farmers' Produce Co. v. McAlester Storage & Commission Co., 150 Ac. 483]; Gibney v. Arlington Brewing Co., 112 Va. 117, 70 S. E. 485.
2 Eliason v. Henshaw, 17 U. S. (4 Wheat.) 225, 4 L. ed. 556.
3 Wiswell v. Bresnahan, 84 Me. 397, 24 Atl. 885.
4 Watson v. Coast, 35 W. Va. 463, 14 S. E. 249.
5 McCormick v. Bonfils, 9 Okla. 605, 60 Ac. 296.
6 Iowa. Lockman v. Anderson, 116 la. 236, 89 N. W. 1072.
Missouri. Hallmann v. Conlon, 143 Mo. 369, 45 S. W. 275.
North Carolina. Trogden v. Williams, 144 N. Car. 192, 10 L. R. A. (N.S.) 867, 56 S. E. 865; Winders v. Kenan, 161 N. Car. 628, 77 S. E. 687.
Oregon. Yett v. Oregon Surety & Casualty Co., 88 Or. 620, L. R. A. 1918D, 1126, 172 Ac. 486.
West Virginia. Weaver v. Burr, 31 W. Va. 736, 3 L. R. A. 94, 8 S. E. 743; Pollock v. Brookover, 60 W. Va. 75, 6 L. R. A. (N.S.) 403, 53 S. E. 795.
7 Kelsey v. Crowther, 162 U. S. 404, 40 L. ed. 1017; Stembridge v. Stem-bridge, 87 Ky. 91, 7 S. W. 611; Schields v. Horbach, 30 Neb. 536, 46
N. W. 629; Bateman v. Kramer Lumber Co., 154 N. Car. 248, 34 L. R. A. (N.S.) 615, 70 S. E. 474.
8 Rickard v. Taylor, 122 Fed. 931.
9 Couch v. McCoy, 138 Fed. 696; Rease v. Kittle, 56 W. Va. 269, 49 S. E. 150.
10 Pollock v. Brookover, 60 W. Va. 75, 53 S. E. 795.
11 White v. Bank, 148 Cal. 552, 83 Ac. 698.
12 Batts v. All, 137 Ga. 358, 73 S. E. 493.
13 Batts v. All, 137 Ga. 358, 73 S. E. 493.
14 See Sec. 116 and 158.
15 See ft 157 and 559 et seq.