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.
It has been said in obiter in some cases that a good consideration was sufficient to support an executory promise.1 Some of these cases support this statement. A voluntary obligation by a father to his son to convey realty,2 and a written promise by a father to convey certain realty to his son and not to will, deed, or mortgage such land,3 have been held enforceable. In most of these cases, however, the promise would have been enforceable if there had been no good consideration. A sealed promise to pay a certain sum to a son-in-law as a gift to his wife, who was promisor's daughter, was said to be enforceable as being on good consideration.4 Promises based on both good and valuable considerations have been explained as if they were supported primarily by the good consideration, such as a promise by a father to his son, "If you will settle yourself on the Grayer farm you shall have it";5 or A's promise to C, the husband of B, who was A's niece and of whom A was very fond, to pay him five thousand dollars if C would abandon his intention to remove to
5 United States. Conley v. Nailor, 118 U. S. 127, 30 L. ed. 112.
Alabama. McKee v. West, 141 Ala. 531, 109 Am. St. Rep. 54, 37 So. 740.
California. Tillauz v. Tillaux, 115 Cal. 663, 47 Pac. 691; Springer v. Springer, 132 Cal. xviii, 84 Am. St. Rep. 17, 64 Pac. 470.
Illinois. Kirkpatrick v. Taylor, 43 111. 207; Oliphant v. Leversidge, 142 111. 160, 30 N. E. 334.
Iowa. Paulus v. Reed, 121 la. 224,
96 N. W. 757; Burrow v. Hicks, 144 la. 584, 120 N. W. 727.
Kentucky. Hanson v. Buckner, 34 Ky. (4 Dana) 251, 29 Am. Dec. 401; Mullins v. Mullins, 120 Ky. 643, 87 S. W. 764; Rittenhouse v. Swango (Ky.),
97 S. W. 743.
Maryland. Pennington v. Gittings, 2 Gill & J. (Md.) 208.
Missouri. Hutsell v. Crewse, 138 Mo. 1, 39 S. W. 449.
North Carolina. Pickett v. Garrard, 131 N. Car. 195, 42 S. E. 579.
6Candee v. Connecticut Savings Bank, 81 Conn. 372, 71 Atl. 551.
1 Barker v. Halifax, Cro. Eliz. 741; Mclntire v. Hughes, 7 Ky. (4 Bibb) 186; Jennings v. Anderson, 20 Ky. (4 T. B. Mon.) 445; Mahan v. Mahan, 46 Ky. (7 B. Mon.) 579; Mark v. Clark, 50 Ky. (11 B. Mon.) 44; Berry v. Graddy, 58 Ky. (1 Met.) 553; Ford v. Ellingwood, 60 Ky. (3 Met.) 359; Arnold v. Park, 71 Ky. (8 Bush.) 3; Doty v. Dickey (Ky.), 96 S. W. 544.
2 Mclntire v. Hughes, 7 Ky. (4 Bibb) 186.
3 Mahan v. Mahan, 46 Ky. (7 B. Mon.) 579.
4 Jennings v. Anderson, 20 Ky. (4 T. B. Mon.) 445.
5 Ford v. Ellingwood, 60 Ky. (3 Met.) 359 (possession was taken under such agreement).
Mississippi, and would instead buy a farm in Kentucky;6 or a release by a father of his son in the words, "I acquit him of every demand I have against him," in consideration of which the son delivered a bay mare to his father's sister.7 In some cases the statement that a good consideration is sufficient, is an obiter, as the promise in the particular case is held to be unenforceable, as a covenant by an uncle to convey certain property to his niece so as to equalize advancements,8 or a voluntary covenant to convey certain realty to a nephew.9
This principle has been laid down where there was no executory promise to enforce and consideration was therefore unnecessary.10 A transfer of a promissory note,11 or an assignment of a life insurance policy,12 are said to be supported by sufficient consideration if made for love and affection. If A intended to give a savings bank deposit to her brother B, and being unable to find the savings bank-book, A gave a written order to B, it was held that such order was sufficient as a gift on the ground that "a good consideration is that of blood or natural affection; and a gift made for such consideration ought to prevail, unless it interfere with the rights of creditors and purchasers." 13
Some of these cases have been distinguished subsequently in later cases in which the question of the sufficiency of a good consideration to uphold an executory promise was squarely raised and such consideration was held to be insufficient.14 As a general rule, therefore, it may be said that the valuable consideration hereafter defined is the only consideration known to the law of contract.15