Drunkenness does not render a deed made under its influence absolutely void, but only voidable: so long as the grantor in the deed acquiesces in it, it cannot be impeached by third persons on the ground that it was executed by settled, that intoxication avoids a contract when it is so complete as to prevent a man from knowing what he is about: in that state he is, in common parlance, "not himself," nor are his acts his own. Thus, in Gore v. Gibson (t), where the endorsee of a bill sued the endorser, who pleaded drunkenness at the time of the endorsement, it was held that this *was a good answer to the action. "It is just the same," said Mr. Baron Alderson, in that case, "as if the defendant had written his name upon the bill in his sleep, in a state of somnambulism." Some of the dicta, however, of the judges in the case last cited, which seem to go the length of holding such a contract absolutely void, have not been supported in all their fulness; and it has been recently held that the contract of a man too drunk to know what he is about, is voidable only, and not void, and therefore capable of ratification by him when he becomes sober (u).
I have now to direct your attention to aliens. And we again subdivide this class into two minor ones, of alien friends, and alien enemies. With regard to alien him when drank: Eaton v. Perry, 29 Mo. 96. If intoxication is carried so far that the reasoning powers are destroyed, the contract is void; hut when it falls short of this, the contract will not be avoided, unless undue advantage has been taken by one party of the condition of the other : Birdsong v. Birdsong, 2 Head, 289; Mansfield v. Watson, 2 Iowa, 111; Johnson v. Rockwell, 12 Ind 76. One found by inquisition to be an habitual drunkard is thereby rendered incompetent subsequently to enter into a contract which will bind his estate: Imhoff v. Witmer, 31 Pa. St. 243. See, generally, Henry v. Bitenour, 31 Ind! 136; Caulkins v. Fry, 35 Conn. 170; Phelan v. Gardner, 43 Cal. 306; Reins kopf v. Rogge, 37 Ind. 207; Joest v. Williams, 42 Ind. 565; Johns v. Fritchey,' 39 Md. 258. [McSparran v. Neeley, 91 Pa. St. 17; Miller v. Finley, 26 Mich. 249; Scanl an v. Cobb, 85 111. 296. A drunkard is liable for necessaries furnished for his support: Meares, in re, 10 Ch. Div. 552; Sawyer v. Lufkin, 56 Me. 309; Darby v. Cabanne, 1 Mo. App. 126.]-S.
(t) 13 M. & W. 623.
(u) Matthews v. Baxter, L. R. 8 Ex. 132; 42 L. J. (Ex.) 73.
(v) Bac. Abr. Aliens, D.; Com. Dig. Alien, C. 5.
(x) For the application of the principle in the case of bills of exchange, see now 45 & 46 Vict., c. 61 (Bills of Exchange Act, 1882), s. 72. Where the subject-matter of the contract is real property, there the lex loci rei sites applies wherever the contract is made. See Adams v. Clutterbuck, 10 Q. B. D. 403; 52 L. J. (Q. B.) 607.
1 Provided the subject of the contract be personal property. But it is well settled on this side of the Atlantic that any interest or title to real estate can only be acquired or transferred according to the lex loci rei sitce, and not according to the lex loci contractus: Cutter v. Davenport, 1 Pick. 81; Hosford v. Nichols, 1 Paige, 220; Chapman v. Robertson, 6 Paige, 630; Wills v. Cowper, 2 Ohio, 124. Such, too, seems to be the law in England: Robinson v. Bland, 1 W. Black. 246; 2 Burr. 1079; Scott v. Allnutt, 2 Dow & CI. 412; Fergusson on Mar. & Div. 395; Curtis v. Hutton, 14 Ves. Jr. 541; Birtwhistle v. Vardill, 5 B. & C. (11 E. C. L. R.) 438; 9 Bligh. 32. Some of the foreign jurists, however, do not recognise this distinction between movables and immovables. See Story's Conflict of Laws, § 52, etc.-R.
I have rather digressed, for the purpose of pointing out these two rules to you. They are two of *the most celebrated principles of our law, and there is scarcely any question arising on a foreign contract which they will not solve (z).1
So far with regard to contracts made with alien friends; now with regard to alien enemies, i. e., aliens whose government is at war with this country. All contracts made with them are wholly void (a).2 Indeed, in one case it was decided, that, if the contract was made during war, it does not become capable of being enforced even on the return of peace; although, if a contract be made with an alien friend, and a war afterwards breaks out between his country and this, the effect is to suspend his right to sue upon the contract until the return of peace, not wholly to disqualify him from suing (b).
(y) Huber v. Steiner, 2 Bing. N. C. (29 E. C. L. R.) 202; Cocks v. Purday, 5 C. B. (57 E. C. L. R.) 860; Leroux v. Brown, 12 C. B. (74 E. C. L. R.) 801; 22 L. J. (C. P.) 1; Ruckmaboye. v. Mottichund, 8 Moo. P. C. 4. See, also. De Greuchy v. Wills, 4 C. P. D. 362; 48 L. J. (Q. B., etc.) 726; cited more fully, ante, p.*333; Alliance Bank of Simla v. Casey, 5 C. P. D. 429; 49 L. J. (C. P.) 781. In this case an action on a bond executed in India was held not barred here till after twenty years. In India specialty debts have no greater efficacy than simple contract debts, and are barred in three years.
(z) They are carried out and explained in British Linen Company v. Drum-mond, 10 B. & C. (21 E. C. L. R.) 903; and De la Vega v. Vianna, 1 B. & Ad. (20 E. C. L. R.) 284. See, also, the notes to Mostyn v. Fabrigas, 1 Smith, L. C. pp. 693 el seqq., 8th ed.; and Story's Conflict of Laws.
(a) Brandon v. Nesbitt, 6 T. R. 23; De Wahl v. Braune, 25 L J. (Ex.) 343; 1 H. & N. 178; Willison v. Patteson, 7 Taunt. (2 E. C. L. R.) 439; Esposito v. Bowden, 27 L. J. (Q. B.) 17 ; 7 E. & B. (90 E. C. L. R.) 763.
1 The student will find all the law upon this interesting subject collected in the 8th and 14th Chapters of Story's Conflict of Laws.-r.
2 There is an exception to this rule which naturally springs from it, which is, that contracts made with an alien enemy for the payment of ransom-money or for subsistence, can be enforced Thus, in Antoine v. Morshead. 6 Taunt. (1 E. C. L R.) 237, an alien to whom was endorsed a bill of exchange, drawn by one English subject, detained a prisoner in France, upon another subject, was held entitled to recover its amount in England after the return of peace.