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supposed that none would have been purchased if the whole had not been purchased, or if any part could not have been purchased.
The buyer may have, by the terms of the bargain, the right of redelivery. For sales are sometimes made upon the agreement that the purchaser may return the goods within a fixed, or within a reasonable time. He may have this right without any condition, and then has only to exercise it at his discretion. But he may have the right to return the thing bought, only if it turns out to have, or not to have, certain qualities; or only upon the happening of a certain event. In such case the burden of proof is on him to show that the circumstances exist which are necessary to give him this right. In either case the property vests in the buyer at once, as in ordinary sales; but subject to the right of return given him by the agreement. If he does not exercise his right within the agreed time, or within a reasonable time if none be agreed upon, the right is wholly lost, the sale becomes absolute, and the price of the goods may be recovered in an action for goods sold and delivered. And if during the time the buyer so misuse the property as to materially impair its value, he cannot tender it back, but is liable for the price.
CONTRACTS VOID FOR ILLEGALITY OR FRAUD.
As the law will not compel or require any one to do that which it forbids him to do, no contract can be enforced at law which is tainted with illegality. It may, however, be necessary to consider whether the contract be entire or separable into parts, and whether it is wholly or partially illegal. If the whole consideration, or any part of the consideration, be illegal, the promise founded upon it is void, whether the promise is legal or not. But if the consideration is legal, and the promise is in part legal and in part illegal, it is valid for the legal part and may be enforced for that part. Thus, if a master of a vessel agreed to smuggle goods, and in consideration of his doing so the owner promised to pay him one-fourth of his profits, and also to advance twenty dollars a month to his family during a certain
time, the master could enforce no part of this promise, and recover no damages for any breach of it, because the consideration is illegal. But if, for one thousand dollars paid, the receiver agreed to sell and deliver a quantity of merchandise, and also to assist the buyer in some contemplated fraud, he would be bound to sell and deliver the goods, because the consideration was legal, and this part of the promise was legal, but not to assist in the fraud, because this part of the promise is illegal. I mean to say, that if a whole promise, or any part of a promise that cannot be severed into substantial and independent parts, is illegal, the whole promise is void. But if the consideration is legal, and the promise is legal in part and illegal in part, and that part of the promise which is legal can be severed from that part which is illegal, and then be a substantial promise having a value of its own, this legal part can be enforced. For further remarks upon this subject, however, I refer to the previous chapter on Consideration.
Formerly, an agreement to sell at a future day goods which the promisor had not at the time, and had not contracted to buy, and had no notice or expectation of receiving by consignment, was considered open to the objection that it was merely a wager, and therefore void. But later cases have admitted it to be a valid contract.
We have already said, in a preceding chapter, that fraud vitiates and avoids every contract and every transaction. Hence, a wilfully false representation by which a sale is affected; or a purchase of goods with the design of not paying for them; or hindering others from bidding at auction by wrongful means; or selling at auction, and providing by-bidders to run the thing up fraudulently; or selling "with all faults," and then purposely concealing and disguising them, as when a man advertised a ship for sale at auction "with all faults," but purposely put her in a situation where an important fault could not be easily detected; or any similar act will avoid a sale. No title or right passes by such sale to the fraudulent party; but the innocent party, whether buyer or seller, may waive the fraud, and insist that the fraudulent party shall not take advantage of his own fraud to avoid the sale.
A buyer who is imposed upon by a fraud, and therefore has a right to annul the sale, must exercise this right as soon as may be after discovering the fraud. He does not lose the right necessarily by every delay, but certainly does by any considerable and unexcused delay.
A seller may rescind and annul a sale if he were induced to make it by fraud. But he may waive the right and sue for the price. If, however, the fraudulent buyer gets the goods on a credit, and the seller sues for the price before the credit expires, this suit is a confirmation of the whole sale, including the credit; or rather it is an entire waiver of his right to annul the sale, and the suit cannot be maintained until the credit has wholly expired.
It a party who has been defrauded by any contract brings an action to enforce it, this is a waiver of his right to rescind, and a confirmation of the contract. Or if, with knowledge of the fraud, he offers to perform the contract on conditions which he had no right to exact, this has been held so effectual a waiver of the fraud that he cannot set it up in defense, if sued on the contract.
SALES WITH WARRANTY.
A SALE may be with warranty; and this may be general, or particular and limited. A general warranty does not extend to defects which are known to the purchaser; or which are open to inspection and observation, unless the purchaser is at the time unable to discover them readily, and relies rather upon the knowledge and warranty of the seller. A warranty may also be either express or implied. It is not implied by the law generally merely from a full, or, as it is called, a sound price. The rule of law, caveat emptor (let the buyer take care), prevents this. But this rule never applies to cases of fraud. As a general rule, however, mere silence on the part of the seller is not fraud; but the usage of the trade will be considered, and if that require a declaration of certain defects whenever they exist, the absence of such a declaration is a warranty against such defects. Mere declarations of opinion are not a warranty. Thus, in England,
an action was brought on a warranty that certain goods were fit for the China market. The plaintiff produced a letter from the defendant, saying that he had goods fit for the China market, which he offered to sell cheap. But the court held that such a letter was not a warranty, but merely an invitation to trade, it not having any specific reference to the goods actually bought by the plaintiff.
If these declarations are intended to deceive, and have that effect, they may avoid the sale for fraud. And affirmations of quantity or quality, which are made pending the negotiations for sale with a view to procure a sale, and have that effect, will be regarded as a warranty; thus, in New York, it was held that a representation made by a vendor, upon a sale of flour in barrels, that it was in quality superfine or extra-superfine, and worth a shilling a barrel more than common, coupled with the assurance to the buyer's agent that he might rely upon such representation, was a warranty of the quality of the flour. So in England, where upon the sale of a horse the vendor said to the vendee, "You may depend upon it, the horse is perfectly quiet and free from vice;" his was held to amount to an express warranty that he was quiet and free from vice.
Goods sold by sample are warranted by such sale to conform to the sample; but there is no warranty that the sample is what it appears to be. Thus, in England, there was a sale of five bags of hops, with express warranty that the bulk answered the samples by which they were sold. The sale was in January; at that time the samples fairly answered to the commodity sold, and no defect was at that time perceptible to the buyer. In July following, every bag was found to have become unmerchantable and spoiled, by heating, caused probably by the hops having been fraudulently watered by the grower, or some other person, before they were purchased by the defendant. The seller knew nothing of this fact at the time of sale, and the samples were as much damped as the rest; and it was then impossible to detect it. It was held by the court that there was here no implied warranty that the bulk of the commodity was merchantable at the time of sale, although a merchantable price was given.
A breach of warranty does not always authorize the buyer to return the article sold, unless there be an agreement to that effect, or fraud; but only to sue on the warranty, and recover damages for the breach of it. But if one orders a thing for a special purpose known to the seller, he may certainly return it if it be unât for that purpose, if he does so as soon as he ascertains its unfitness.
The seller of goods actually in his possession as owner is held to warrant his own title by the fact of the sale. But if the property be not in the possession of the vendor, and there be no assertion or ownership by him, no implied warranty of title arises.
If a thing is ordered for a special purpose, and is supplied, there is an implied warranty that it is fit for that purpose. In ane case, the defendant was a dealer in ropes, and represented himself to be a manufacturer of the article. The buyer, a winemerchant, applied to him for a crane-rope. The seller's foreman went to the buyer's premises, in order to ascertain the dimensions and kind of rope required. He examined the crane and the old rope, and took the necessary admeasurements, and was told that the new rope was wanted for the purpose of raising pipes of wine out of the cellar, and letting them down into the street; when he informed the buyer that a rope must be made on purpose. The seller did not make the rope himself, but sent the order to his manufacturer, who employed a third person to make it. It was held that, as between the parties to the sale, there was an implied warranty that the rope was a fit and proper one for the purpose for which it was ordered. And the seller was held responsible, not only for the rope, which broke, but for a pipe of wine which was thereby lost.
This principle must not be applied to those cases where an ascertained article is purchased, although it be intended for a special purpose. For if the thing itself is specifically selected. and purchased, the purchaser takes upon himself the risk of its effecting its purpose. This is illustrated in an English case thus: "If a man says to another, Sell me a horse fit to carry me,' and the other sells a horse which he knows to be unfit to ride, he will be liable for the consequences; but if a man says.