1 Ibid.; Case v. Hall, 24 Wend. 103; Beecker v. Vroomau, 13 Johns. 302.
2 Dig. Lib. 12, tit. 4, De Condictione causa, § 16; Celsus, lib. 3. Degestorum.
3 Dig. Lib. 19, tit. 4; De Rerum Permutatione. 4 Dig. Lib. 19, tit. 1, § 30.
§ 1067. In respect to this warranty of title or possession, the difference between the common law and the Roman law, from which the former was borrowed, is almost purely verbal and formal. It was implied in the Roman law in all cases of immediate or executory contracts of sale, and in exchanges, whether there were any affirmation of ownership or not. "Quod si nihil convenit, tunc ea praestabuntur quae naturaliter insunt hujus judicii potestate, et imprimis ipsa rem præstare venditorem oportet; id est, tradere; quae res, siquidem dominus fuit venditor, facit et emptorem dominum; si non fuit, tantum evictionis nomine venditorem obligat."4 "Non dubitatur etsi specialiter venditor evictionem non promiserit, re evictâ ex empto competere actionem." 5
§ 1068. The subtle distinction between an exchange and a sale which created a warranty in the former contract, so as to give an immediate right of action before possession was disputed, while by the latter contract the warranty was not considered as broken until possession by the vendee was disputed, has never been admitted in our law. Whatever may be its metaphysical correctness, it is too fine for practical purposes. All sales are in reality exchanges, money being merely representative. The difference, however, practically only relates to the time when the remedy of the vendee attaches, - the distinction in other respects between a transfer of proprietorship and of undisputed possession being merely metaphysical. It was even a matter of dispute among the Romans themselves whether there was any true foundation for this distinction between an exchange and a sale. Sabinus and Cassius, the leaders of the Sabinian sect, thought that an exchange was nothing else than the ancient form of sale, and that the same rules applied to both contracts. This opinion also Caillet supports in his Commentary on the Code.1 Nerva and Proculus, the founders of the school of the Pro-culeans, on the contrary, maintain that the contracts are distinct; and their opinion is supported by Justinian, Paul, and others, and generally prevailed.2
1 Cod. de Evict. Lib. 8, tit. 45; Pothier, Contrat de Vente, § 108; Caillet ad tit. Cod. de Evict. Lib. 8, tit. 40.
2 Domat, pt. 1, b. 1, tit. 2, § 10, art. 6; Bell on Sales, 95; Pothier, Contrat de Vente, § 108.
3 Si sciens alienam rem ignoranti mihi vendideris, etiara, prius quam evincatur, utiliter me ex empto acturum putavit in id, quanti mea intersit meam esse factam; quamvis enim alioquin verum sit, venditorem hactenus teneri, ut rem emptori habere liceat, non etiam ut ejus faciat, quia tamen dolum malum abesse prsestare debeat, teneri eum, qui sciens alienam, non suam ignoranti vendidit. Dig. de Actionibus Empti et Venditi, Lib. 19, tit. 1, lex 30, § 1. See also Lib. 19, tit. 1, art. 11, § 1.
4 Dig. Lib. 19, tit. 1, art. 11, § 1. De Actionibus Empti et Venditi. 5 Cod. Lib. 8, § 6, De Evict.; Domat on the Civil Law, pt. 1, b. 1, tit.
2, § 10, art. 6; lb. Cushing's ed. of Strahan's translation, vol. i. p. 231, §376.
§ 1069. But no such distinction as that proposed in the common law between the sale of articles in the vendor's possession and of those out of his possession ever was recognized in the Roman law. The warranty, whether of possession or of proprietorship, was always created by implication from the fact of sale or exchange, or do ut des, and did not depend upon the question whether the article was in the possession of the vendor.
§ 1070. The Civil Code in France would seem to settle this question by the simple statement, "La vente de la chose d'autrui est nulle; elle peut donner lieu a des dommages-in-tértês lorsque l'acheteur a ignoré que la chose fiit a autrui." 3
1 Meermani Thesaurus, vol. ii. ad L. 5, d. tit.
2 Justin. Instit. de Empt. et Vendit. Lib. 3, tit. 23, § 1, § 2. Pothier also supports this opinion, Contrat de Vente, § 48. See, also, Duranton, vol. xvi.; Contrat de Vente, Liv. 3, tit. 6, § 16; Paul. Dig. de Contrah. Empt. Lib. 1, § 1; Dig. de Rerum Permutatione, Lib. 19, tit. 4, § 1.
3 Code Nap. 1599.
The necessary inference from such a statement would seem to be that the want of power to pass the proprietorship to the vendee annulled the sale. Yet so strong a hold had the Roman practice taken upon the French mind, that, despite this statement in the Code, it has been maintained that a sale carries only a right of possession to the vendee, not a right of proprietorship. Toullier supports this doctrine,1 and it has received countenance from the Court of Cassation.2 But the great weight of authority is against it, and Duranton, Duvergier, Delvincourt, Fremery, among others, agree that by the Code the rule of the Roman law is changed, and that a vendee is at once entitled to have his contract annulled, on discovery that the seller could not make him the rightful owner.3
1 Toullier, Cont. de Vente, vol. xiv. n. 240.
2 Dalloz, 1832, pt. 1, p. 54.
3 Duranton, Cours de Droit Francais, vol. x. § 437, p. 457; Ib. vol. xvi; Du Contrat de Vente, § 176, 177; Duvergier, Droit Civil Francais, vol. i.; De la Vente, § 17; Delvincourt, Cours de Code Civil, vol. iii. Liv. iv. ch. 2, p. 68; Fremery, Etudes du Droit Commercial, p. 5. He thus admirably expresses himself: " Les fragmens qui sont conserves au Di-geste prouvent, jusqu'a l'evidence, quelacoutume avait consacré a Rome une formule habituelle pour les contrats de vente, sauf les clauses speciales que, suivant l'occurrence, il fallait y ajouter. Dans cette formule, c'etait le vendeur qui parlait, legem dicebat. La coutume etait d'employer, dans cette formule, pour exprimer l'engagement que le vendeur entendait contracted ces mots: præstare emptori rem habere licere: cestermes, dansleur sens rigoureux, sont moins etendus que l'expression rem dare. Les juris-consultes ont decide, d'apres ces donne'es, que toute clause ambigue devait s'interpreter contre le vendeur, qui est en faute de ne s'etre pas expliqué plus clairement; ils ont decide, en outre, que son engagement n'emportait pas l'obligation de transferer la propriété.