Chapter 9-10: Contracts

That obligation to perform a contract is founded on the reasonable expectation from a promise.

A breach of contract is naturally the slightest of all injuries because we naturally depend more on what we have than what others have.

  • A man robbed of £5 thinks himself much more injured than if he had lost £5 by a contract.
  • This was caused by:
  • The first contracts that sustained action were those:

    Accordingly among the ancients, promises entered into with great solemnity first sustained action.

    By the English law, a consideration or cause for the promise was at first necessary to make it obligatory.

    By the civil law, the first promises that sustained action were those entered into in presence of a court.

    The next contracts that sustained action were the contractus reales.

    All these sustained action before the four consensual contracts:

    1. Buying and selling,
      1. If the contract is not fulfilled, you lose your earnest money.
    2. Letting and hiring
      1. This once comprehended leases, day’s wages, building, and almost everything with regard to society.
      2. If a small price be paid for borrowing something, it becomes letting and hiring.
    3. Partnership, and
    4. Commission.
      1. If this was performed gratuitously, it could not at first sustain any action.
      2. But if a reward was given, it was nearly the same with the commodatum.

    The Roman law also had a pactum nudum.

  • Contracts deprive men of that liberty.
  • Originally, no contracts were sued before any court but the ecclesiastic.
  • This was imitated by the civil law.
  • In general, the law gave only action for damages until the court of chancery was introduced.
  • The present and ancient state of contracts are most different.

  • At present, almost anything will make a contract obligatory.
  • There are some questions concerning contracts much agitated by lawyers, especially one when the coin becomes debased1

  • When the government alters the coin, it is to answer some urgent necessity.
  • Chapter 10: Quasi-Contract

    A quasi-contract is founded on the duty of restitution.


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    Next: Chapter 11