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.
Similar problems arose in connection with the obligation under seal. In England the original rule at common law was that before breach a sealed obligation could not be discharged by parol accord and satisfaction,1 and this rule has been repeated in a number of American jurisdictions.2 Equity, however, would give no relief to the creditor, under such circumstances, unless he was ready and willing to perform,3 and relief would be given in equity to the debtor after satisfaction in case the creditor attempted to assert the original obligation.4 After breach of a covenant of a sealed instrument for something other than the payment of money, the party not in default could recover unliquidated damages, and an accord and satisfaction was regarded as a sufficient bar to an action for unliquidated damages, even though based upon a sealed instrument.5 The result of these different limitations upon the original common-law right, is that for practical purposes accord and satisfaction is now a sufficient bar to an action upon a contract under seal.6
2 See Sec. 1172 and 2473.
3 See ch. LXXXI. 4 See ch. LXXXI.
5 Lutterford v. LeMayre Cro. Jac. 570; Weber v. Couch, 134 Mass. 26, 45 Am. Rep. 274; Mitchell v. Hawley, 4 Denio (N. Y.) 414, 47 Am. Dec. 260.
6 4 Anne, c. 16, Sec. 12.
7 Farmers' Bank v. Groves, 53 U. S. (12 How.) 51, 13 L. ed. 880; Boffinger v. Tuyes, 120 U. S. 108, 30 L. ed. 640; Marshall v. Bullard, 114 Ia. 462, 54 L. R. A. 862, 87 N. W. 427; Ex parte Zeigler, 83 S. Car. 78, 21 L. R. A. (N.S.) 1005, 64 S. E. 613, 016; Reid v: Hibbard, 6 Wis. 175.
1 Alden v. Blague, Cro. Jac. 99; Oliver v. Lease, Cro. Car. 86.
2 Levy v. Very, 12 Ark. 148; Cabe v. Jameson, 32 N. Car. 103, 51 Am. Dec. 386; Rorer Iron Co. v. Trout, 83 Va. 397, 5 Am. St. Rep. 285, 2 S. E. 713.
3 Very v. Levy, 54 U. S. (13 How.) 345, H L. ed. 173.
"An agreement by a creditor to receive specific articles in ' satisfaction of a money debt, is binding on his conscience; and if he ask the aid of a court of equity to enforce the payment, he can receive that aid only to compel satisfaction in the mode in which he has agreed to accept it. A court of equity will even go further, and in a proper case will enforce the execution of such an agreement. At law, a mere accord is not a defense; and before breach of a sealed instrument, there is a technical rule, which prevents such an instrument from being discharged, except by matter of as high a nature as the deed itself. Alden v. Blague, Cro. Jac. 99; Kaye v. Waghorne, 1 Taunt. 428; Bayley v. Homan, 3 Bing. N. C. 015. But no such difficulties exist in equity. On the broad principle that what has been agreed to be done, shall be considered as done, the court will treat the creditor as if he had acted conscientiously, and accepted in satisfaction what he had agreed to accept, and what it was his own fault only that he had not received. Indeed, even a court of law in a case free from the technical difficulties above noticed, will do the same thing. Bradly v. Gregory, 2 Camp. 383." Very v. Levy, 54 U. S. (13 How.) 345, 14 L. ed. 173.