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 relation between the rights of B and the rights of C growing out of A's promise, caused trouble then as they cause it now, in jurisdictions in which the beneficiary is held to have a right of action. It was said that if B delivered C's goods to A in reliance upon A's promise to deliver them over to C, B or C could sue upon the promise but that they could not join.1 There was, however, considerable authority for holding that if the contract was intended to be for the sole benefit of C, B could not bring an action thereon. If A makes a promise to B to settle money or property upon B's son or daughter, C, in consideration of C's marriage with A's son, X, B can not maintain an action upon such contract against A, since only C was to have the advantage of such promise.2 If A makes a promise to B to make a settlement upon B's son, C, upon C's marriage to A's daughter, X, and A refuses to make such settlement, B can not enforce such promise as against A, even though B has been constrained to give money to C and X for maintenance,3 since the satisfaction of A's promise was to be made to C4 If A makes a promise to B to the effect that in consideration of B's refraining from criminal prosecution against A's son, X, for an assault upon B and B's son, C, X should keep the peace as against B and C, and X subsequently makes an assault upon C, B can not recover against A in case X makes such assault, if B is not bound to pay for curing C of his wounds, even though B has in fact paid such expenses.5 C, however, can maintain an action upon such promise against A.6 If B placed money or property in A's hands in reliance upon A's promise to pay B's debt to C, it was held that C could sue A upon such promise or he could sue B upon the original obligation.7 In the case in which B surrendered a copyhold to A, in consideration of which A agreed to pay a certain sum to each of B's daughters, it was held that one of such daughters could enforce the promise against A in an action upon the case. The right of the daughter to bring the action was assumed and the only question which was argued to the court was whether she could bring a separate action or whether she must join the other beneficiaries.8
12 Company of Feltmakers v. Davis, 1 Bos. & P. 98. 13 See Sec. 2380.
1Bell v. Chaplain, Hardres 321. 2Levet v. Hawes, Cro. Eliz. 61ft, 662. 3 Hadves v. Levit, Hetley 176.
4 Hadves v. Levit, Hetley 176.
5 Rippon v. Norton, Cro. Eliz. 849.
6 Rippon v. Norton, Cro. Eliz. 881, Yelv. 1.
7 Davison v. Haslip, 1 Vent. 162.