8 Cheshire v. Barrett, 4 M'Cord, 241; Dana v. Coombs, 6 Greenl. 89; Lynde v. Budd, 2 Paige, 191; Hubbard v. Cummings, 1 Greenl. 11; 20 Am. Jur. 273, and cases cited.
1 Hubbard v. Cummings, 1 Greenl. 11; Henry v. Root, 33 N. Y. 526 (1865), containing an elaborate examination of the cases on this point.
2 Blake v. Concannon, Irish R. 4 C. L. 323 (1870). This case, tried before Pigot, C. B., decides that a person cannot repudiate a liability for rent which actually became due during his infancy. The facts were that certain lands were let to the defendant, an infant, in May, 1866, on rent payable in November and May. He possessed and enjoyed the lands until the 20th of April, 1867, when, being still an infant, he left the possession, and on attaining his majority, which occurred shortly afterwards, he repudiated the contract of tenancy, and the tenancy under it. But it was held that he could not escape payment of the rent due in November, 1866; though it was otherwise as to the rent due the following May.
3 Mahon v. O'Farrell, 10 Irish Law, 527; Kelly v. Coote, 5 Irish Com. Law, 469 (1856).
4 Walsh v. Powers, 43 N. Y. 23 (1870). See Weed v. Beebe, 21 Vt. 495.
5 McCarty v. Carter, 49 111. 53 (1868).
6 Goode v. Harrison, 5 B. & Al. 147; Miller v. Sims, 2 Hill (S. C), 479. See, on the other hand, Dana v. Stearns, 3 Cush. 372. The mercantile contracts of a minor, as partner in a firm, are voidable, not void; but the ratification should clearly appear. Minock v. Shortridge, 21 Mich. 304 (1870); Kennedy v. Doyle, 10 Allen, 161 (1865).
- either by merely retaining it without notice to the seller of his readiness to restore it, and, a fortiori, by selling or otherwise disposing of it, or declining to return it after demand by the seller, a ratification will be implied.1 Indeed, wherever he continues, after coming of full age, to occupy a position which is only explicable upon the supposition that he intends to stand by his contract, it will be considered as a ratification of an executed contract. He is, however, allowed a reasonable time after he comes of age, - locus pcenitentice,- during which he may disaffirm his contract, and during which a mere acquiescence, without any unequivocal acts establishing a clear intention to confirm his contract, will not operate as a confirmation.2
§ 118. The late English cases seem to assert the doctrine that the infant is bound expressly to disaffirm his contract within a reasonable time after coming of age, and that if he neglect to do so, his silence will operate as an affirmance of his contract.3 The same doctrine is also asserted in several cases in this country,4 but the better opinion would seem to be that mere silence, for a reasonable time, would only operate as a ratification of a contract, where, from the circumstances of the case, it raises an implied promise to abide by it; as where it was the duty of the infant to disaffirm, or where he exercises rights of ownership of articles sold to him, inconsistent with any other view than that he intends to keep them and pay for them,- or where he resells them;5 or, as elsewhere exist
1 Boyden v. Boyden, 9 Met. 519; Boody v. McKenney, 23 Me. 517; Aldrich v. Grimes, 10 N. H. 194.
2 Tucker v. Moreland, 10 Pet. 75, 76; Jackson v. Carpenter, 11 Johns. 542; Holmes v. Blogg, 2 Moore, 552; 8 Taunt. 35.
3 Dublin & Wicklow Railway Co. v. Black, 8 Exch. 181; 16 Eng. Law & Eq. 556-558; North-Western Railway Co. v. M'Michael, 5 Exch. 114-121; Leeds & Thirsk Railway Co. v. Fearnley, 4 Exch. 26; Cork & Bandon Railway Co. v. Cazenove, 10 Q. B. 935; The Midland Great Western Railway Co. v. Quinn, 1 Ir. Com. Law, 383. As to what constitutes a repudiation, see Baker's Case; In re the Contract Corporation, 25 Law Times (n. s.), 726 (Dec. 8, 1871); Law R. 7 Ch. 115; Ebbett's Case, Law R. 5 Ch. 302.
4 Holmes v. Blogg, 8 Taunt. 39, by Dallas, J.; Richardson v. Boright, 9 Vt. 368; Kline v. Beebe, 6 Conn. 506; Scott v. Buchanan, 11 Humph. 474.
5 In an admirable note to Dublin & Wicklow Railway Co. v. Black, 16 pressed, mere inaction is not a ratification unless the infant remains in possession after coming of age, of something valuable
Eng. Law & Eq. 558, the editor (Mr. Bennett) says, "It may be doubted whether the current of authorities in America, at the present time, will warrant the abstract position, that a bare neglect to disaffirm, is itself a ratification, unless accompanied with some positive acts indicative of an intention to abide by the contract. Silence for an unreasonable time, taken in connection with other facts, such as using the property purchased, retaining possession of it, selling or mortgaging it, or in any way converting it to the infant purchaser's own use, would undoubtedly be a sufficient ratification. The American decisions are numerous and clear upon this point. Thus, in Lawson v. Lovejoy, 8 Greenl. (Bennett's ed.) 405, a minor bought a yoke of oxen for which he gave his note; after arriving at full age he ' converted the oxen to his own use, and received the avails.' This was held a binding ratification, and the infant was adjudged liable on his note.
"So in Boyden v. Boyden, 9 Met. 519 (1845), a minor having given his note for a horse and plough, kept the horse a year after attaining full age, and then sold him. The plough he kept and used two or three years, without giving any notice of a desire to disaffirm the contract. The jury were told this operated as a ratification.
"In like manner in Cheshire v. Barrett, 4 M'Cord, 241 (1827), an infant having given his note for a horse, which he sold after arriving at full age, was held thereby to have ratified the contract. Deason v. Boyd, 1 Dana, 45 (1833), is precisely similar. See also Alexander v. Heriot, Bailey, Eq. 223. Boody v. McKenney, 23 Me. 517 (1844), is one of the most recent cases to the same point. The case of Delano v. Blake, 11 Wend. 85 (1833), is one of the strongest American cases, in support of the position that the infant must positively disaffirm, within a reasonable time, or he will be bound. There an infant received the note of a third person, not the debtor, in payment for work and labor. This note he kept for eight months, after the arrival at maturity, when the maker becoming insolvent, the infant tendered the note to the original debtor, and sued him on account for his services. It was held that simply retaining the note so long a time was, under all the circumstances, a ratification. See also Thomasson v. Boyd, 13 Ala. 419 (1848).