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 outbreak of war is ordinarily held to discharge contracts between alien enemies for transportation, chartering vessels, and the like,1 rather than to suspend such contracts temporarily. In the cases in which this question has been presented, the result which was reached was undoubtedly correct. The contracts could not be performed without aiding the enemy; and, accordingly, performance could not be insisted on during the war. To have treated these contracts as suspended rather than as discharged, would, on the one hand, have inflicted an intolerable hardship upon the parties who had agreed to furnish the transportation or the vessel, since the termination of the war could not be foreseen, and accordingly they could not have entered into a contract for the use of the vessel during the war, without the risk of becoming liable for damages for breach of the original contract, if it had been held to revive after the war.2 In addition to these reasons, it would, in some eases, have strengthened the commercial position of the enemy if it had been permitted to regain control of the vessel after the termination of the war.3 It is likely that such a result would not be reached if the contract could be held to be suspended without inflicting such hardship on the one hand, or without aiding the enemy on the other; but it is also unlikely that cases of this sort can arise, which will not present one or both of these objections to treating the contract as merely suspended.
9 Yeaton v. Berney, 62 III. 61.
10 Ward v. Smith, 74 U. S. (7 Wall.) 447, 19 L. ed. 207; Neilson v. Rutledge, 1 Desausa. Eq. (S. Car.) 194; King v. Hanson, 8 Va. (4 Call.) 269.
11 Greenlaw v. Williams, 70 Tenn. (2 Lea) 533.
12 Foxcraft v Nagle, 2 U. S. (2 Dall.) 132, 1 L. ed. 319.
13 Foxcraft v. Nagle, 2 U S. (2 Dall.) 132, 1 L. ed. 319.
1 Reid v. Hoskins, 4 El. & Bl. 979; Avery v. Bowden, 5 El. & Bl. 714; Eaposito v. Bowden, 7 El & Bl. 766; Karberg v. Blyther , 1 K. B. 495; Clapham Steamship Co. v. Naam-looze Vennootarhap Handels-en Transport -Maatschappij Vulcaan , 2 K. B. 639.