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.
At modern law the term "past consideration" means that a right has been acquired or forborne, under circumstances that either never created any legal liability, to pay therefor, or if there was a legal liability originally, subsequent facts have amounted to a discharge.1 It does not, of course, mean that a promise may not be supported by a prior legal liability as a consideration, whether absolutely valid,
14 Sidenham v. Worlington, 2 Leon. 224.
15See Sec. 628 and 633.
16 See Sec. 625 et seq., and 634.
1 Arizona. Wulff v. Lindsay, 8 Ariz. 168, 71 Pac. 963.
Arkansas. Elmore v. Snow, 102 Ark. 692, 146 S. W. 476.
Georgia. Dillard v. Dillard, 118 Ga. 97, 44 S. E. 885.
Indiana. Schnell v. Nell, 17 Ind. 29, 79 Am. Dec. 453; Western Paving Co. v. Ry., 128 Ind. 525, 25 Am. St. Rep. 462, 10 L. R. A. 770, 26 N. E. 188, 28 N. E. 88.
Iowa. Meginnes v. McChesney, 179 la. 563, 160 N. W. 50 [sub nomine, Meginnes v. Copeland, L. R. A. 1917E, 1060]; Gooch v. Gooch (la.), L. R. A. 1917C, 582, 160 N. W. 333.
Kentucky. Daviess County Bank & T. Co. v. Wright, 129 Ky. 21, 17 L. R. A. (N.S.) 1122, 110 S. W. 361, 33 Ky. L. Rep. 457; Foxworthy v. Adams, 136 Ky. 403, 27 L. R. A. (N.S.) 308, Ann. Cas. 1912A, 327, 124 S. W. 381.
Massachusetts. Massachusetts, etc., Ins. Co. v. Green, 185 Mass. 306, 70 N.
E. 202; Widger v. Baxter, 190 Mass. 130, 3 L. R. A. (N.S.) 436, 76 N. E. 509.
Missouri. Redman v. Hampton, 26 Mo. App. 504.
Oklahoma. Clements v. Jackson County Oil & Gas Co. (Okla.), L. R. A. 1917C, 437, 161 Pac. 216.
Pennsylvania. McHugh v. Schuylkill, 67 Pa. St. 391, 5 Am. Rep. 445; Cleaver v. Lenhart, 182 Pa. St. 285, 37 Atl. 811.
South Dakota. Bunker v. Taylor, 10 S. D. 526, 74 N. W. 450.
Tennessee. Whitson v. Fowlkes, 38 Tenn. (1 Head.) 533, 73 Am. Dec. 184.
Utah. Utah Savings & Trust Co. v. Bamberger, 29 Utah 370, 81 Pac. 887.
Virginia. Pennybacker v. Maupin, 96 Va. 461, 31 S. E. 607; Davis v. Anderson, 99 Va. 620, 39 S. E. 588.
Washington. Hemrich Bros. Brewing Co. v. Kitsap County, 45 Wash. 454, 9 L. R. A. (N.S.) 910, 88 Pac. 838; Wright v. Tacoma, 87 Wash. 334, 151 Pac. 837.
West Virginia. Gooch v. Gooch, 70 W. Va. 38, 73 S. E. 56 [sub nomine, Gooch v. Allen, 37 L. R. A. (N.S.) 930].
voidable, or subject to some subsequent defense.2 It does not include cases in which the consideration is a legal liability which arose before the promise was made, and upon which the promise is based. Such forms of consideration are sufficient.3 As used in this sense, a past consideration is no consideration, at modern law, in most jurisdictions.4
Even if the original transaction created a legal liability, still if this liability has been discharged, such prior liability is no consideration. Thus after an insurance policy has been forfeited by nonpayment of premiums, an agent's promise to accept premiums is without consideration.5 So where the principal has paid a note in full, no consideration exists thereon to support a subsequent note given by a guarantor to the holder.6 A subscriber to a college, whose liability has never attached by reason of breach of condition as to location, is not bound by a promise to pay his original subscription made after it had been located.7