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.
A change in the form of a debt is held by some courts to be a consideration for a promise based upon such change. Thus the giving of a note for a debt which was not before evidenced by a negotiable instrument is a consideration.1 The opposite view has been expressed in some cases,2 and it has been held that if no additional security is given, the change in the form of the debt is not of itself a valuable con-sideration.3
The giving of security consisting of some lien upon the property of the debtor, for a pre-existing debt,7 such as a chattel mortgage,8 even if in fact nothing is realized from such security,9 has been held to be a valuable consideration.
Michigan. Rickey v. Morrison, 69 Mich. 130, 37 N. W. 56. Minnesota. Smith v. Library, 58 Minn. 108, 25 L. R. A. 280, 59 N. W. 979; Keller v. Smith, 59 Minn. 203, 60 N. W. 1102.
29 Prince v. State Fair, 106 Ala. 340, 28 L. R. A. 716, 17 So. 449. To the same effect is Smith v. Library, 58 Minn. 108, 25 L. R. A. 280, 59 N. W. 979.
30 Phoenix Cement Sidewalk Co. v. Russellville Water & Light Co., 101 Ark. 22, 140 S. W. 996.
1Sibree v. Tripp, 15 M. & W. 23; Bugh v. Crum, 26 Ind. App. 465, 59 N. E. 1076; Jaffray v. Davis, 124 N. Y. 164, 11 L. R. A. 710, 26 N. E. 351.
2 Cumber v. Wane, 1 Strange 426 [see discussion in Foakes v. Beer, 9 App. Cas. 605]; Hooker v. Hyde, 61 Wis. 204, 21 N. W. 52.
3 Jenness v. Lane, 26 Me. 475; Tobey v. Barber, 5 Johns. (N. Y.) 68, 4 Am. Dec. 326; Frank v. Gump, 104 Va. 306, 51 S. E. 358; Hooker v. Hyde, 61 Wis. 204, 21 N. W. 52. See also, Arend v. Smith, 151 N. Y. 502, 45 N. E. 872.
4 Wells v. Morrison, 91 Ind. 51.
5 Amsler v. McClure, 238 Pa. St. 409, 86 Atl. 294.
6 Jordy v. Maxwell, 62 Fla. 236, 56 So. 946.
7In re Black Diamond Copper Mining Co., 11 Ariz. 415, 95 Pac. 117; Kerr v. Topping, 109 la. 150, 80 N. W. 321; Jaffray v. Davis, 124 N. Y. 164, 11 L. R. A. 710, 26 N. E. 351; Brown v. Kern, 21 Wash. 211, 57 Pac. 798.
8 Jaffray v. Davis, 124 N. Y. 164, 11 L. R. A. 710, 26 N. E. 351.
9 Kerr v. Topping, 109 la. 150, 80 N. W. 321.
If personal security of a third person is given,10 or if a third person assumes and agrees to pay the debt,11 or mortgages his land to secure such debt,12 the creditor clearly gets a substantial legal right to which he was not already entitled, which can fairly be regarded as a consideration. If the debtor gives as security a mortgage on his own property, the creditor is taking less than he was entitled, and in a different form only because the debtor can not or will not perform his contract. If the debtor gives his own unsecured note or check, the anomaly is still more apparent. Here, according to some authorities, a payment in money of less than the entire debt is not a consideration,13 but giving a note or check for the same amount is consideration, although the creditor would much prefer the money. The courts which take this view have done away with the necessity of consideration except as a mere outward form, which is retained for historical reasons.