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.
Even at common law there were certain well-recognized exceptions to this rule. Negotiable contracts could be transferred to others than the original parties.1 This exception may be explained by saying that negotiable instruments exist under the law-merchant and not at common law. Contracts running with the land could pass to the grantee of the land. Contracts could be assigned to or by the government,2 so that the assignee could sue in his own name.3
2 United States. Tiernan v. Jackson, 30 U. S. (5 Pet.) 580, 8 L. ed. 234.
Connecticut Brush v. Curtis, 4 Conn. 312.
Massachusetts. Orr v. Amory, 11 Mass. 25.
New Jersey. Wright v. Williamson, 3 N. J. L. 520.
New York. Bird v. Caritat, 2 Johns. (N. Y.) 342, 3 Am. Dec. 433.
Virginia. Brown v. Dicker son, 68 Va. (27 Gratt.) 690.
Wisconsin. Pillsbury v. Mitchell, 5 Wis. 17.
For a discussion of the common-law theory and the modern theory, see Atlantic & N. C. Ry. v. Atlantic & N. C. Co., 147 N. Car. 368, 125 Am. St. Rep. 550, 23 L. R. A. (N.S.) 223, 15 Am. & Eng. Ann. Cas. 363, 61 S. E. 185.
3 "Right might be trodden down and the weak oppressed." Co. Litt. 214a; Lampet's Case, 10 Coke 46b; Rice v.
Stone, 83 Mass. (1 All.) 566; Thall-himer v. Brinckerhoff, 3 Cow. (N. Y.) 623, 15 Am. Dec. 308; Webber v. Quaw, 46 Wis. 118, 49 N. W. 830.
4 That the rule against assignment was not based on an aversion to maintenance originally, see Assignment of Choses in Action in Relation to Maintenance and Champerty, by Percy H. Winfleld, 35 Law Quarterly Review, 143.
1 This may not be a technical assignment, but it had the effect of passing legal title. See Sec. 2343.
2 Y. B. 39 Hen. VI 26, pl. 36. (This was said to be according to the common practice of the exchequer.) Y. B. 2 Hen. VII 8, pl. 25; Allen's Case, Owen 113; Breverton's Case, 1 Dyer 30b; Stafford v. Buckley, 2 Ves. 170; United States v. Buford, 28 U. S. (3 Pet.) 12, 7 L. ed. 585.
3 Breverton's Case, 1 Dyer 30b.