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.
As in modern case, B's motive for furnishing the value for A's promise usually was either to provide for a near relation by blood or marriage, or to secure the payment of his own debt. If A made a promise to B to settle money upon B's son, C, upon C's marriage, especially if with a near relation of A's, it was clear that C could enforce such contract as against A.1 At the same time, C's right of action against A was not limited to contracts in consideration of marriage or to cases in which C was closely related to B. Where B gave goods to his son, A, in consideration of which A promised to pay a certain sum of money to C, it was held that C could enforce such promise as against A without any blood relationship between C and B.2 While apparently B made such contract with A in order to secure the payment of B's debt to C, the existence of such debt does not appear to have been alleged; but the court said, "The case was this: The father gave goods to his son, in consideration that the son should pay the plaintiff in this action twenty pounds. It was urged that this can be no consideration for the plaintiff to bring his action, because here is no debt due to him, but only an appointment for the son to pay money to him, in consideration of the goods given him by his father. But Hales, on the other side, said, that if there may be a debt by any intendment due to the plaintiff, then the assumpsit is good and here is a debt due to him, therefore the assumpsit is good. Roll, chief justice held, that it is good as it is. for there is a plain contract, because the goods were given for the benefit of the plaintiff, though the contract be not between him and the defendant, and he may well have an action upon the case, for here is a promise in law made to the plaintiff, though there be not a promise in fact, there is a debt here, and the assumpsit is good."3
8 Thomas v. ------. Styles 461.
1 Levet v. Hawes. Cro. Eliz. 610. 652: Lever v. Hevs. Moore 550; Thomas v.-----. Styles 461; Bafeild v. Collard.
Aleyn 1: Sprnt v. Agar, 2 Sid. 115.
2 Starkey v. Mill. Style 296.
3 Starkey v. Mill, Style 296.
Rolle's statement of the case is as follows: If B delivers goods to A worth eighty pounds out of which A promises B in consideration of such delivery to pay twenty pounds to C, C can have an action of debt or of account or an action on the case on the promise against A. Starkey v. Mylne, Rolle's Abridgment, Action, Sur. Case (Z), Qui avera Taction, pl. 13, p. 32.