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.
in some cases the courts justify the result which they have reached, in holding that substantial failure to pay one instalment operates as a discharge of the entire contract, by treating default in payment as equivalent to an abandonment of the contract.1 and this view has been taken even where the refusal of the seller to pay was due to his claim that the goods which had been delivered and for which payment was sought were of inferior quality.2 This reason, however, is far from explaining all of the cases in which the courts have actually reached this result. It is true that in cases in which the party in default has renounced the contract, either expressly or by fair implication,3 as by notifying the adversary party to quit work when he expresses himself as willing to continue if payments were made or assured,4 the adversary party may treat such contract as discharged.5 If the buyer who is in default has declared his intention of continuing in default in unequivocal terms, and if he has refused performance, either absolutely or upon condition that the seller consent to some modification of the contract, such conduct is undoubtedly such renunciation that the seller may treat the contract as discharged.6 If the buyer who has agreed to pay for each instalment within a certain time after it is delivered, refuses to pay for any instalments until all have been delivered, the seller may treat such declaration as renunciation of the contract.7 Even under the Uniform Sales Act,8 if the buyer fails to pay one or more instalments under circumstances which make it reasonable for the seller to believe that the buyer can not or will not perform further, the seller may treat such default as a discharge.9 In many of the cases, however, in which nonpayment is treated as discharge, the buyer who is in default did not renounce the contract; but on the contrary, he was attempting in good faith and to the best of his ability to perform; or his refusal to perform grew out of some reason other than renunciation of liability.11 By the device of treating unexcused failure to make a payment as equivalent to a renun-ciatiou of contractual liability, the two extreme and inconsistent theories that, on the one hand, default in payment of an instalment is such a breach that the seller may treat the contract as discharged, and, on the other hand, the theory that such default does not amount to discharge unless the buyer has renounced liability under the contract, can be made to blend together so that the contract can be treated as discharged, although the only renunciation which is shown is a failure to pay the instalments of the purchase money when due.
7 Collins-Plass Thayer Co. V. Hewlett, 109 S. Car. 245, 95 S. E. 510.
1 England. Mersey Iron & Steel Co. v. Naylor, 9 App. Cas. 434 [affirming, 9 Q. B. D. 648]; Campbell v. McLeod, 24 N. S. 66.
United States. Monarch Cycle Mfg. Co. v. Royer Wheel Co., 105 Fed. 324.
Alabama. Rock Island Sash & Door Works v. Moore-Handley Hardware Co., 147 Ala. 581, 41 So. 806.
California. Cox v. McLaughlin, 54 Cal 605.
Illinois. Keeler v. Clifford, 165 III. 544, 46 N. E. 248.
Iowa. Osgood v. Bander, 75 la. 550, 1 L. R. A. 655, 36 N. W. 887; Tuttle-Chapman Coal Co. v. Coaldale Fuel Co, 136 Ia. 382, 113 N. W. 827.
Kentucky. Collins v. Swan-Day Lumber Co., 158 Ky. 231, 164 S. W. 813.
Michigan. West v. Bechtel, 125 Mich. 144, 51 L. R. A. 791, 84 N. W. 69.
New Jersey. Otis v. Adams, 56 N. J. L. 38, 27 Atl 1032
New York. Wharton v. Winch, 140 N. Y. 287, 35 N. E. 589.
Oregon. Longfellow v. Huffman, 55 Or. 481, 104 Pac. 961.
Virginia. Bethel v. Improvement Co, 93 Va. 354, 57 Am. St. Rep. 808, 33 L. R. A. 602, 25 S. E 304.
Wisconsin. Campbell & Cameron Co. v. Weisse, 121 Wis. 491, 99 N. W. 340.
2 Palm v. Ohio & Mississippi Ry., 18 III 217; Beatty v. Howe Lumber Co., 77 Minn. 272, 79 N. W. 1013.
3 Trotter v. Heckscher, 40 N. J. Eq. 612, 4 Atl. 83.
4 Winchester v. Newton, 84 Mass. (2 All.) 492.
1 Johnson Forge Co. v. Leonard, 3 Penne (Del.) 342, 94 Am. St. Rep. 86, 57 L R A 225, 51 Atl. 305; Bennett v Taylor, 72 Kan 598, 84 Pac. 633; Stevens v. Forrest, 183 Mich. 223, 149 N. W 982; Pittsburg Steel Foundry v. Pittsburg Steel Co., 223 Pa. St. 430, 72 Atl. 813.
2 Webster v. Moore, 108 Md. 572, 71 Atl. 460.
3 Monarch Cycle Mfg. Co. v. Royer Wheel Co., 105 Fed. 324; Landvoigt v. Paul, 27 D. C. App. 423; Quarton v. American Law Book Co., 143 la. 517,
32 L. R. A. (N.S.) 1, 121 N. W. 1009; Ambler v. Sinaiko, 168 Wis. 286, 170 N. W. 270.
4 Tennessee & Coosa Ry. v. Dan forth, 112 Ala. 80, 20 So. 502.
5 See Sec. 2882 et seq.
6 Withers v. Reynolds, 2 Barn. & Ad. 882.
7 Ambler v. Sinaiko, 168 Wis. 286, 170 N W. 270.
8 Ambler v. Sinaiko, 168 Wis. 286, 170 N. W. 270.
9 Bloomer v. Bernstein, L. R. 9 C. P. 588.