(z) Wontner v. Shairp, 4 C. B. (56 E. C. L. R) 404; Walstab v. Spottiswood, 15 M. & W. 501; Vollans v. Fletcher, 1 Ex. 20; Duke v Andrews, 2 Ex. 290; Chaplin v. Clarke, 4 Ex. 403; Re Direct Birmingham Railway Company, ex parte Capper, 19 L. J. (Ch.) 394.
(a) Adams v. Lindsell, 1 B. & A. 681.
(b) Adams v. Lindsell, supra; Meynell v. Surtees, 25 L. J. (Ch.) 259.
1 In Lewis v. Browning, 130 Mass. 173, Gray, C J., said: "In M'Culloch v Eagle Ins. Co., 1 Pick. 278, this Court held that a contract made by mutual
12 177 was bound to do (c). Until acceptance, the offerer may revoke his offer (d); but the revocation, in order to operate as such, must be communicated to the party to whom the offer has been made before the latter has accepted it. For example, merely posting a letter of revocation which does not reach the party to whom the offer is made till after the latter has posted a letter of acceptance, would not be sufficient (e). The acceptance of the offer, in order to be *binding, must, as we have already seen, not be qualified by some stipulation not contained in the offer. It is perhaps hardly necessary to add that the law as to the acceptance and retraction of offers is the same mutatis mutandis.
(c) So held in Household Fire Insurance Co. v. Grant, 4 Ex. Div. 216, 48 L. J. (Q. B., etc.) 577, by a majority of the Court of Appeal (Thesiger and Bag-gallay, L. JJ., dissentiente Bramwell, L. J.). This case overrules The British and American Telegraph Co. v. Colson, L. B. 6 Ex. 108; 40 L. J. (Ex.) 97. See also Dunlop v. Higgins, 1 H. of L. C. 381 (where, however, the letter of acceptance did reach its destination, though after a delay caused by circumstances over which the sender had no control); Re Imperial Land Co. of Marseilles, Harris's case, L. B. 7 Ch. App. 587; 41 L. J. (Ch.) 621; Wall's case, re the same Company, L. B. 15 Eq. 18; 42 L. J. (Ch.) 372.
(d) Cooke v. Oxley, 3 T. E. 653; Routledge v. Grant, 4 Bing. (13 E. C. L. B.) 653; Warner v. Harrison, 28 L. J. (Q. B.) 18.
(e) Byrne v. Van Tienhoven, 5 C. P. D. 344; 49 L. J. (C. P.) 316; Stevenson v. McClean, 5 Q. B. D. 346; 49 L. J. (Q. B.) 701; Re Imperial Land Company of Marseilles, Harris's case, L. B. 7 Ch. App. 587; 41 L. J. (Ch.) 621.
I have already stated to you that one of the main distinctions between a contract by deed and a simple contract is, that the latter requires a consideration to support it, the former not.2 And here it is proper to observe, incidentally, that when I say that a contract by deed does not require a consideration to support it, I mean to say that it does not require a consideration for the purpose of binding the party who executes it, and rendering him liable. I do not by any means intend that you should understand that a consideration may not come to be a most important ingredient in a contract by deed, as between parties claiming a benefit under that deed and other parties having conflicting claims upon the person executing it. For instance, the statute of the 13th Eliz, c. 5, *renders a great variety of deeds (if made without a valuable consideration) void as against creditors; and this statute (which Lord Mansfield has said is only declaratory of the Common Law) is founded on a perfectly righteous and equitable principle; for how absurd and unjust would it be to allow a man to defeat the claims of his real creditors by entering into obligations to persons who had never parted with any value at all. When, therefore, I say that a deed is good without consideration, I do not mean to say that it stands for all purposes on the same footing as an instrument for which value has passed; but what I mean that you should understand is this-that where the interests of third parties are not affected, but the question is between the person who entered into the contract and the person with whom it is made, there a man cannot defend himself against a promise made by deed, by saying that he received no consideration for it, although he might defend himself upon that ground against the very same promise if it had been made by simple contract. I cannot, I think, put a better example of this than that which I put in a former lecture:-A. owes B. £50. Now, if I write upon a piece of paper as follows:-"I promise A. that I will discharge for him the debt due from him to B.," and give him the paper so written, here is a simple contract without any consideration for it; and, if I fail to perform the promise, no action will lie against *me, because a simple contract founded upon no consideration cannot be enforced: and yet, if I had sealed that very slip of paper, and delivered it to A. as my act and deed, an action would have lain against me had I afterwards failed in performing it; and to that action it would have been no defence to say that I received no consideration for my undertaking: I might say, that I had been imposed upon, and persuaded to execute it by A.'s fraud; or I might say, that the debt due to B. was an illegal one, and that my promise was made in pursuance of an illegal arrangement; but that the promise was without consideration would be a defence of which, the contract being by deed, I could not be allowed to avail myself.1
(/) Per Lush, J., in Stevenson v. McClean, 5 Q. B. D. 346, 351; 49 L. J. (Q. B.) 701,704.
1 As to contracts by letter, see Abbott ». Shepard, 48 N. H. 14; Stockham v. Stockham, 32 Md. 196; Brown v. N. Y. C. R. R. Co., 44 N. Y. 79; Chicago R. R. Co. v. Dane, 43 lb. 240; Knight v. Cooley, 34 Iowa, 218. As to contracts by telegraph, see Trevor v. Wood, 41 Barb. 255; 36 N. Y. 307; Beach v. Rari-tan R. R. Co., 37 N. Y. 457; Wells v. Milwaukee R. R. Co., 30 Wis. 605; Duble v. Batts, 38 Tex. 312; Deshon v. Fondick, 1 Wood, 286. [See page *96 as to the application of the Statute of Frauds to contracts by Telegraph.]- s.
2 Upon the important subject of the rise and development of the doctrine of consideration recent research has thrown much light. The subject cannot be adequately treated in this place, but a few references may be useful to the student who desires further information. The most learned discussion of the subject, historically and philosophically, is that of Professor Holmes (Common Law, Lectures VII. and VIII.). For an analysis of the case law see Professor Langdell's Select Cases on Contracts, and for a clear statement of the principles of the modern law see his Summary of the Law of Contracts,§ § 45-98. See also Judge Hare's " Notes of a Course of Lectures on Contracts," Lect. L, and, generally, the recent writers on contracts, Anson, Leake, Pollock, and Wharton.