And where a man who has a judgment debt *takes from his debtor a promissory note for the amount, payable at a certain future time, it must be inferred that he thereby enters into an agreement to suspend his remedy for that time, and if so, that is a good consideration for the giving of the note (d).
Although a man has not a clear legal or equitable right, yet if his right or claim is doubtful, and not clearly nugatory or illegal, the abandonment, or, for the same reason, the forbearance of an action brought to enforce it, is a sufficient consideration for a promise (e). Where the plaintiff's goods had been seized by the Excise, and he had afterwards entered into an agreement with the Commissioners of Excise, that all proceedings should be terminated, the goods delivered up to him, and a sum of money paid by him to the Commissioners, Parke, B., rests his judgment on the ground that this agreement of compromise honestly made, was for a consideration, and binding (/). Indeed the disputed claim may be wholly unfounded, and yet the compromise of, or forbearance to enforce the claim may be a good consideration, if the claim be made bona fide at the time of the agreemant to compromise or forbear (g). *Thus, in Cook v. Wright (h), the trustees under a local Act called on the agent of the owner of certain houses to pay certain expenses chargeable under the act on the owner. The agent told the trustees that he was not owner but that B. was, and that such owner and not he was liable; but the trustees notwithstanding, really believing that he was liable, threatened to take proceedings against him. Thereupon the agent, although he knew he was not liable, gave his own promissory notes to the trustees, on their agreeing to take less than the amount demanded, and
(d) Belshaw v. Bush, 29 L. J. (C. P) 24; Baker v. Walker, 14 M. & W. 465. See Tempson v. Knowles, 7 C. B. (62 E. C. L. R.) 651; Wilson v. Bevan, 7 C. B. (62 E. C. L. R.) 673.
Mere forbearance to sue without any agreement to that effect, is not a sufficient consideration for the promise of another to pay the debt of the person liable, although the act of forbearance was induced by such promise: Manter v. Churchill, 127 Mass. 31. Forbearance to contest a will is a good consideration, and a note given after the statutory period for contesting wills is good, if in pursuance of an agreement for settlement made within such period: Hin-dert v. Schneider, 4 111. App. 203. Where a tax collector, in consideration of the promise of the owner of land advertised to be sold for taxes, delays the sale beyond the advertised time, a sufficient consideration for the promise is given, and this without regard to the belief of the collector in the validity and regularity of the assessment: Gove v. Newton, 58 N. H. 359. A promise to pay money for the discontinuance of a suit is upon a sufficient consideration, though the defendant might have prevailed in the suit: Flannagan v. Kilcome, 58 N. H. 443. An agreement to forbear bringing suit for a debt due for an indefinite time, if followed by actual forbearance for a reasonable time, is a) good consideration for a promise to pay the debt by a person other than the debtor: Howe v. Taggart, 133 Mass. 284. The maker of a note, being sued thereon, agreed, in consideration of forbearance to sue, to pay compound interest thereon for the remainder of its term: Held, that there was sufficient consideration for the agreement: Jasper County v. Tavis, 76 Mo. 13. A promise to guarantee a debt already due, made in consideration of the forbearance of the creditor to attach the debtor's goods, is void when there was no valid ground of attachment: Smith v. Easton, 54 Md. 138. A promise by a creditor to forbear the institution of proceedings in bankruptcy against his debtor is not a sufficient consideration to support a promise by a third party to pay the debt, if, in fact, the creditor could not have sustained such proceedings, though he believed that he could have sustained them, and though the third party believed that forbearance to proceed would be advantageous and beneficial to himself: Ecker v. McAllister, 54 Md. 362.
(e) Longridge v. Dorville, 5 B. & Ad. (7 E. C. L. R.) 117; Stracy v. Bank of England, 6 Bing. (19 E. C. L. R.) 754.
(f) Atlee v. Backhouse, 3 M. & W. 633.
(g) Callisher v Bischoffsheim, L. R. 5 Q. B. 449; 39 L. J. (Q. B.) 181. See, however, the remarks of Brett, L. J., on this case in Ex parte Banner, in re Blythe, 17 Ch. Div. 480, 490; 51 L. J. (Ch.) 300, 302. His Lordship there questions "whether, in order to support a compromise of an action, it is not necessary to show, not only that the plaintiff believed that he had a good cause of action, but that the circumstances did in fact raise some doubt whether there was or was not a good cause of action, and," he adds, " I venture to doubt whether, if there was clearly and obviously no cause of action, the mere belief of the parties that there was would support the compromise."
(h) I B. & S. (101 E. C. L. R.) 559; 30 L. J. (Q. B.) 321. 200 allowing it to be paid by instalments, and this was decided to be a good consideration. A fortiori, where the right is not doubtful, but the amount of the claim only is disputed, an agreement for the settlement of all disputes upon the payment of a definite but smaller sum than that claimed, is held to be founded upon sufficient consideration (i)1. But it would be another *matter if a person made a claim which he knew to be unfounded. Thus (k), where issue had been joined in a previous action for the recovery of a sum of money from the defendant, who had thereupon promised to pay the money and costs, in consideration
(i) Edwards v. Baugh, 11 M. & W. 641; Wilkinson v. Byers, 1 A. & E. (28 E. C. L. E.) 106; Llewellyn v. Llewellyn, 3 D. & L. 318.
(k) Wade v. Simeon, 2 C. B. (52 E. C. L. R.) 548, and see Callisher v. Bischoffsheim, supra.
1 "A compromise of a doubtful title, when procured without such deceit as would vitiate any other contract, concludes the parties, though ignorant of the extent of their rights." Gibson, C. J., in Hoge v. Hoge, 1 Watts, 216; Brown v. Sloan, 6 Watts, 421; Meanor v. M'Kowan, 4 W. & S. 304; Rinehart v. Olwine, 5 lb. 163; M'Culloch v. Cowher, lb. 417; Chamberlain v. M'Clurg, 8 lb. 37; Logan v. Matthews, 6 Pa. St. 417. Even when there was a mutual mistake of the law, the parties having acted in good faith, a compromise has been supported: M'Coy v. Hutchinson, 8 W. & S. 66. The compromise of an action of slander, in which the words laid in the declaration were not actionable, was held a good consideration: O'Keson v. Barclay, 2 P. & W. 531. That the claim was evidently without color would be a circumstance to show fraud or imposition upon a weak understanding, but if a man with his faculties about him, makes a promise to get rid of an annoying claim, which, though worthless, it will cost him time, trouble, and money to contest, it would be drawing the Court into too nice a discussion to determine what degree of doubt there must be about it to give validity to the compromise. A compromise of conflicting and doubtful claims or the giving up a suit instituted to try a question respecting which the law is doubtful, is a sufficient consideration to support an agreement to pay a stipulated sum: Field v. Weir, 28 Miss. 56; Burnham v. Dunn, 35 N. H. 556; Mayo v. Gardner, 4 Jones, 359; Jarvis v. Sutton, 3 Ind. 289; Kerr v. Lucas, 1 Allen, 279; Allen v. Prater, 35 Ala. 169; Crans v. Hunter, 28 N. Y. 389. An agreement to settle a family controversy cannot be considered a nude pact: Watkins v. Watkius, 24 Ga. 402. Where a claim is legally groundless a promise upon a compromise of it or of a suit upon it, is not binding: Schnell v. Nell, 17 Ind. 29. See also Crans v. Hunter, 28 N. Y. 389; Fleming v. Ramsey, 46 Pa. St. 252; Farmers' Bank v. Blair, 44 Barb. 641; Scott v. Warner, 2 Lans. 49; Snowr. Grace 29 Ark. 131.-s.