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ADVERTISEMENT

TO THE THIRD AMERICAN EDITION.

The following Lectures exhibit, it is believed, the best characteristics of the mind of their author. In this edition of them, I have attempted to illustrate somewhat more fully the subjects which are there so clearly treated of, and to point out the harmony and the differences of the English and American decisions down to the present time.

WM. HENRY RAWLE. PHILADELPHIA, January, 1853.

PREFACE

TO THE ENGLISH EDITION.

THE following Lectures on Contracts were comprised in a Course delivered by the author to a class of students at the Law Institution, and were designed to explain the elements of the Law of Contracts. They embody the chief Principles of that branch of the law; and it is trusted that they will be found equal to any of the former productions of the author, for that clear, concise, and comprehensive exposition of his subject, which has characterized his works and insured the vitality of his reputation. It appears to have been the aim of Mr. Smith to popularize a branch of law which peculiarly affects the ordinary business of life; to divest it of the superfluities with which it is often encumbered; to educe the great maxims by which it is moulded; to free it from the meshes of technicality, and to unravel the perplexity in which an occasional conflict of judgments had from time to time involved it. In so doing, he has used Cases, not as the body of the work, after the fashion of modern text-books, but for the subordinate purpose of illustrating the spirit of the law.

The Lectures brought down the modifications introduced by late decisions to the Twelfth Volume of “ Adolphus and Ellis's Reports;” and, consequently, left many points unnoticed which have been elucidated or altered by subsequent judgments. The recent growth of Public Companies, and the rapid development of commercial enterprise, have likewise combined to render the Lectures written in 1842 to this extent imperfect now. It fell to the lot of the editor to supply this deficiency. Notes and an Appendix have been consequently added; it being obviously essential that the text of the Lectures should be given to the public precisely as they were delivered by their lamented author.

The editor does not presume to hope that in these additions he has carried out the scheme of the author, or approached the inimitable style of the text. He humbly claims credit alone for an earnest endeavour to collect and annex the requisite additions to the Lectures with the utmost expedition, in order to present another work by John William Smith, with the least delay, to the profession which already ranks him as among the most gifted of its writers, and most learned of modern lawyers.

J. C. S. ABERYSTWITH, Nov. 20, 1846.

CONTENTS

THE PAGES REFERRED TO ARE THOSE BETWEEN BRACKETS [ ].

LECTURE I.

ON THE NATURE AND CLASSIFICATION OF CONTRACTS, AND ON

CONTRACTS BY DEED.

Three classes of contracts : by matter of record, under seal, and simple

contracts; incidents of contract by matter of record; recognisance;
remedy by scire facias ; contracts by deed ; definition of ; its signature
and sealing; alteration of; delivery; to whom delivery must be
made ; effect of retention of deed; how far delivery is a question for
the jury ; acceptance of deed; how far subsequent acceptance relates
back; rejection of deed; escrows; deeds-poll, and indentures; con-
sideration of contracts by deed; effect of illegality of consideration ;
estoppel by deed: estoppel in pais; merger; contracts by deed how
waived or discharged; heirs and devisees how far bound by their
ancestors' contracts by deed,

p. 1 to 24

LECTURE I I.

THE NATURE OF SIMPLE CONTRACTS-OF WRITTEN CONTRACTS-

THE STATUTE OF FRAUDS.

Simple contracts ; how inferior to contracts by deed; how proved ;

rule as to admission of parol evidence to explain them; Sir James
Wigram's treatise on the rule as applicable to wills ; exceptions to the
rule; patent and latent ambiguity; evidence of usage and custom ;
the Statute of Frauds; its authors and objects; fourth section ; not
re-enacted in Pennsylvania ; general rules applicable to all cases
under this section; the consideration must appear in writing ; Wain
v. Warlters : authority of that case now settled in England, but not
in all of the United States ; Boydell v. Drummond; signature of the
party to be charged; non-compliance with fourth section does not
avoid the contract, but merely disables the party from suing on

p. 24 to 40

it,

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