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 extent of the agent's authority as between him and his principal is primarily a question of fact.1 The construction of the language creating the authority or the inferences admissible from the facts from which authority may be inferred are questions of law.2 As illustrating what powers have been held to be implied and what have not been so held, general power to manage a business includes power to do whatever is customary and necessary in such business.3 Thus it includes power to lease,4 to vacate leased realty without surrendering the lease,5 to employ an attorney,6 to borrow money,7 to give a note,8 to endorse checks of his principal for goods bought on credit in pursuance of his authority,9 and to rescind contracts,10 but not to loan the principal's credit,11 unless the debt for which the principal becomes surety is really the principal's own debt ;12 nor does a general manager have implied power to mortgage.13 Power to sell is not power to employ an attorney,14 or to buy,15 or to dedicate realty for a street,16 or to indemnify against loss in business,17 nor to sell on credit,18 or to sell on credit, taking a note payable to the agent,19 or to rescind a sale already made.20
Knaggs, 8 Ohio 169; Montague v. McCarroll, 15 Utah 318; 49 Pac. 418 (power to sell land in consideration of $5.00).
17 Kelly v. Bowerman. 113 Mich. 446; 71 N.W. 836.
18 Terwilliger v. R. R. Co., 149 N. Y. 86; 43 N. E. 432.
19 (Supreme Assembly) Good Fellows v. Campbell, 17 R. I. 402; 13 L. R. A. 601; 22 Atl. 307.
1 Willcox v. Hines, 100 Tenn. 524; 66 Am. St. Rep. 761; 45 S. W. 781.
2 Seehorn v. Hall, 130 Mo. 257; 51 Am. St. Rep. 562; 32 S. W. 643.
3 Rathbun v. Snow, 123 X. Y. 343; 10 L. R. A. 355; 25 N. E. 379.
4 Phillips, etc., Co. v. Whitney, 109 Ala. 645; 20 So. 333.
5 Byxbee v. Blake, 74 Conn. 607;
57 L. R. A. 222; 51 Atl. 535 (the agent's conduct after the term ended being considered as a renewal).
6 Davis v. Matthews, 8 S. D. 300; 66 N. W. 456.
7 Helena National Bank v. Telegraph Co., 20 Mont. 379; 63 Am. St. Rep. 628; 51 Pac. 829; McDer-mott v. Jackson. 97 Wis. 64: 72 N. W. 375.
8 Whitten v. Bank, 100 Va. 546; 42 S. E. 309.
9 Graton, etc.. Co. v. Redelshei-mer, 28 Wash. 370; 68 Pac. 879.
10 Van Santvoord v. Smith, 79 Minn. 316; 82 X. W. 642.
11 Boord v. Strauss, 39 Fla. 381; 22 So. 713.
12 Andres v. Morgan, 62 O. S. 236; 78 Am. St. Rep. 712; 56 N. E. 875.
Power to sell land is not power to mortgage,21 or to exchange,22 and power to sell goods at retail is not power to mortgage the entire stock.23 Power to sell usually includes power to make such warranties as are customary in that place and business. Thus in sales of personalty power to warrant quality is implied from power to sell as to such warranties as are customary.24 Whether the warranty is customary or not is a question of fact.25 Power to sell a new brand of fertilizer has been held to include power to warrant its quality.26 Power to sell as general agent has been held to include power to warrant,27 even as to one who knows that local agents are unauthorized to warrant.28 Power given by a mortgagee to a mortgagor of chattels to sell and apply the proceeds to the mortgage debt is held to include power to warrant.29 If the warranty is not customary the agent has no implied authority to make it.30 Title is usually warranted. Accordingly power to sell land includes power to warrant the title,31 and so does power to sell personalty.32 Power to sell guaranteed goods to be tested is power to fix the method of testing the goods,33 or to extend the time of the trial.34 It is presumed that the principal intends that the custom of the market shall determine the agent's power to sell therein..35 Power given by a wife to her husband to mortgage her realty is not power to release her dower in his realty.36 Power to pledge includes power to pledge again to raise money to pay the first loan ;37 and power to pay includes power to promise to pay so as to avoid limitations.38 Power to loan is not power to negotiate,39 or to collect unless the note is in the possession of the agent.40 But general power to handle money for investment is power to extend payment or to collect notes.41 Power to buy for cash does not include power to buy on credit.42 Power to collect is not power to modify the contract,43 or to extend the time of payment,44 or to waive the principal's right in property,45 or to set off the debt to be collected against a debt owed by the principal,46 or to indorse checks received,47 and power to foreclose is not power to extend time of payment.48 Power to collect interest is not power to collect the principal,49 at least before maturity,50 unless by custom,51 or by the principal's acquiescence in such conduct,52 or if the note is in the possession of the agent.53 Power to collect installments when due is not power to collect before they are due.54 Power to collect and reinvest is power to collect before maturity.55 Power to collect is power to accept cash only therefor, not a savings deposit book.56 Power to settle a debt is power to accept the note of a third person,57 or personal property.58 A collecting agency has power to employ an attorney for its principal.59 Power to solicit orders is not power to collect,60 or to rescind,61 or to make a binding contract of sale.62 Power to ship goods includes power to take a special bill of lading.63 Power to write insurance within certain territorial limits is not power to write insurance outside such limits.64 Power to insure is not power to insure on credit, taking a promissory note for the premium.65 Power to lease is not power to covenant to irrigate;66 but such agent may bind his principal by a representation that a wall of the building to be leased is fire-proof.67 An attorney has no implied authority to consent to a compromise judgment against his client.68 A husband has no implied authority to act as agent for his wife.69