(v) Cro. Jac. 248.
(x) 1 East. 487. (y) 4 T. R. 78.
(z) lb. 359.
(a) 4 M. & Sel. 66.
Fletcher v. Lord Sondes (b), under the following circumstances.
An action was brought in the King's Bench by Lord Sondes against the Reverend William Fletcher upon a bond of £12,000. The condition was not to commit dilapidations, and to resign within a month after request the rectory of Kettering, in the county of Northampton, to which Lord Sondes then presented him, in order that his Lordship might be enabled to present one of two younger brothers whose names the condition specified. Upon this bond, judgment was allowed to go by default; and a writ of error being brought in the House of Lords, the judges were called on to deliver their opinions, which they all did, with the exception of Mr. J. Bayley, Mr. J. Holroyd, and Mr. J. Littledale. There was a difference of opinion amongst them, and they delivered their opinions therefore seriatim-the judges who thought the bond valid being, L. C. J. Best, Mr. J. Burrough, and Mr. J. Gaselee; those who thought it invalid being the L. C. J. *Abbott, C. B. Alexander, Mr. J. J. A. Park, B. Garrow, B. Graham, and B. Hullock. The Chancellor agreed with the majority, and the judgment of the Court below in favour of the plaintiff was reversed. Now, the bond in this case was not a general resignation bond. It was a special one in favour of the obligee's two brothers. And the effect of this decision was, not only to establish the decision in The Bishop of London v. Ffytche, but to overturn the decisions which had previously taken place in favour of special resignation bonds, and render all bonds conditioned for the resignation of a clergyman illegal. But as the consequences of this would have been exceedingly hard upon persons who had executed special resignation bonds at the time when they were looked upon as legal, the Archbishop of Canterbury immediately brought in a bill, which he laid on the table of the House as soon as the Lords had assented to the Chancellor's motion to reverse the judgment of the King's Bench in Fletcher v. Lord Sondes, and which afterwards passed into law. It is the 7 & 8 Geo. IV., c. 25, which confirms such bonds and contracts if made before the 9th of April, 1827, the day of the decision in Fletcher v. Lord Sondes, for resignation in favour of one, or one of two specified persons. And thus the law continued; all general bonds of resignation being void, and special ones in favour of one person, or one of two persons, good if before April 9th, 1827, and void if subsequent to that *day; until the passing of the 9 Geo. IV., c. 94, which rendered special resignation bonds and contracts entered into after the passing of that Act good, if in favour of one, or one of two persons standing in the relation of uncle, son, grandson, brother, nephew, or grand-nephew to the patron, by blood or marriage.
(b) 3 Bing. (11 E. C. L. R) 501, in Dom. Proc.
Thus stands this curious branch of law. Resignation contracts prior to April 9th, 1827, being governed by 7 & 8 Geo. IV., c. 25, conjointly with the statutes of Elizabeth and Anne; between that day and the passing of 9 Geo. IV., c. 94, by the statutes of Anne and Elizabeth, as explained in Fletcher v. Lord Sondes; and, subsequently, by the 9 Geo. IV., c. 94, in conjunction with the statute of Anne and Elizabeth.
Another class of illegal contracts, of not unusual occurrence, consists of those which are invalid, on the ground that they amount to illegal attempts to charge an ecclesiastical benefice. The obvious impolicy of allowing the provision made by law for the support of the church to be diverted to secular purposes, occasioned the enactment of the 13 Eliz., c. 20, which directs that all chargings of benefices other than rents reserved upon the leases which the law allows to be made should be void. This act was repealed by 43 Geo. III., c. 84, but revived again by the repeal of the latter Act by 57 Geo. III., c. 99 (c). The cases have mostly arisen on *contracts made for the purpose of charging an annuity granted by a clergyman upon his benefice. These contracts are held void (d), and, where it appears on the face of a warrant of attorney given by a clergyman, that his intention in executing it was that the benefice should be sequestered towards the liquidation of an annuity or other charge, the Courts will set it aside (e); but they will not do so where no intention to create such a charge appears on the face of the warrant of attorney itself, though its effects may and probably will be to occasion an execution to issue, under which the profits of the benefice will be sequestered (f).
A contract may also be illegal by contravening the Statute which prescribes a uniformity of weights and measures in the United Kingdom. These are now regulated by 41 & 42 Vict., c. 49 (Weights and Measures Act, 1878), s. 19 of which expressly makes void all contracts not made in terms of imperial weights or measures where weight or measure is agreed for. S. 21, however, contains an *exception in favour of contracts in metric weights or measures, or where decimal subdivisions of imperial weights and measures are used (g).
(e) Shaw v. Pritchard, 10 B. & C. (21 E. C. L. R.) 241. See 1 & 2 Vict, c 106; Hawkins v. Gathercole, 6 De G. M. & G. 1; 24 L. J. (Ch.) 332.
(d) See Mouys v. Leake, 8 T. R. 411; Alchin v. Hopkins, 1 Bing. N. C. (27 E. C. L. R.) 99; Flight v. Salter, 1 B. & Ad. (20 E. C. L. R.) 673; Walker v. Crofts, 20 L. J. (Ex.) 257; 6 Ex. 1, S. C.
(e) Saltmarshe v. Hewett, 1 A.& E (28 E. C. L. R.) 812; Newland v. Watkins, 9 Bing. (23 E. C. L. R ) 113. See Hawkins v. Gathercole, 24 L. J. (Ch.) 332.
(f) Bendry v. Price, 7 Dowl. 753; Colebrook v. Layton, 4 B. & Ad. (24 E. C. L. R.) 578; Moore v. Ramsden, 7 A. & E. (34 E. C. L. R.) 898; Sloane v. Packman, 11 M. & W. 770.
There is also a class of contracts which are illegal as being made by such a company as is declared illegal under s. 4 of the Companies Act, 1862 (25 & 26 Vict., c. 89). That section provides that " no company, association, or partnership consisting of more than ten persons shall be formed, after the commencement of this Act, for the purpose of carrying on the business of banking, unless it is registered as a company under this Act, or is formed in pursuance of some other Act of Parliament, or of letters patent; and no company, association, or partnership consisting of more than twenty persons shall be formed, after the commencement of this Act (A) for the purpose of carrying on any other business that has for its object the acquisition of gain by the company, association, or partnership, or by the individual members thereof, unless it is registered as a company under this Act, or is formed in pursuance of some other Act of Parliament, *or of letters patent, or is a company engaged in working mines within and subject to the jurisdiction of the stannaries." Under this section a loan society which consisted of more than twenty members, and whose object was to lend money at interest to some of its members, whilst other members furnished the money so to be lent and received interest, was held illegal. For although the society itself might not gain, yet the lending members did, and each member had the possibility of acquiring a gain. It therefore followed that the society itself being illegal, the contract of loan, under which the money was both advanced and made repayable in pursuance of the rules of the society was illegal also. It was held, therefore, that neither the society nor its trustee could recover the money so lent, and that promissory notes given to secure such advances were equally invalid as being given for an illegal consideration (i).