Lapas attēli
PDF
ePub

sion of the thing before the other, he can hold it against the other. So, also, unless delivery or possession accompany the transfer of the right of property, the things sold are subject to attachment by the creditors of the seller. And if the sale be completed, and nevertheless no change of possession takes place, and there is no certain and adequate cause or justification of the want or delay of this change of possession, the transac: tion will be regarded as fraudulent and void in favor of a third party, who, either · by purchase or by attachment, acquires the property in good faith, and without a knowledge of the former sale. This fact, that the thing sold remained in the possession of the seller, might be explained, and if shown to be perfectly consistent with honesty, and to have occurred for good reasons, and especially if the delay in taking possession was brief, the title of the first buyer would be respected.

If goods are sold in a shop or store, separated, and weighed ir numbered if that be necessary, and put into a parcel, or otherwise made ready for delivery to the buyer, in his presence, and he request the seller to keep the goods for a time for him, this is so far a delivery as to vest the property in the goods in the buyer, and the seller becomes the bailee of the buyer. And if the goods are lost while thus in the keeping of the seller, without his fault, it is the loss of the buyer. (In law the word bail means “to deliver." Thus a “bailor" is one who delivers a thing to another; the “bailee" is the party to whom it is delivered; and “bailment" is the delivery. The "bail" of

“” a party who is arrested, is he or they to whom the arrested person is delivered or given up, on their agreement that he shall be forthcoming when required by law.)

In a contract of sale there is sometimes a clause providing that a mistake in description, or a deficiency in quality or quantity, shall not avoid the sale, but only give the buyer a right to deduction or compensation. But if the mistake or defect be great and substantial, and affects materially the availability of the thing for the purpose for which it was bought, the sale is nevertheless void, for the thing sold is not that which was to have been sold.

If the buyer knowingly receives goods so deficient or

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

different from what they should have been that he might have refused them, he will be held to have waived the objection, and to be liable for the whole price; unless he can show a good reason for not returning them, as in the case of materials innocently used before discovery of the defects, or the like. Thus, where a man bought a chandelier warranted sufficient to light a certain room, and kept it six months, the court did not permit his to return it and refuse payment, although it was not what it had been warranted to be. Sometimes two or three months, or even less, is held too long a keeping to permit a subsequent return. But though the buyer cannot return the thing, yet, when the price is demanded, he may set off whatever damages he has sustained by the seller's breach of contract, and the seller can recover only the value to the buyer of the goods sold, even if that be nothing. But a long delay or silence may imply a waiver of even this right on the part of the buyer.

One who orders many things at one time, and by one bargain, may, generally, refuse to receive a part without the rest; but if he accepts any part, he severs that part from the rest, and rebuts (or removes) the presumption that it was an entire contract; the buyer will then be held as having given a separate order for each thing, or part, and as therefore bound to receive such parts as are tendered, unless some distinct reason for refusal attaches to them. If many several things are bought at one auction, but by different bids, and especially if the name of the buyer be marked against each, there is a separate sale to him of each one, and it is independent of the others; so that he must take and pay for any one or more, although the others are not what they should be, or cannot be had. If, however, it could be shown by the nature of the case, or by evidence, that the things were so connected that one was bought entirely for the sake of the other he would not be obliged to take the one unless he could have the other. This rule applies also when the things sold are lots of land. Indeed, the general rule may be stated thus. The question whether it is one contract, so that the buyer shall not be bound to receive any part unless the whole be tendered to him, will be determined by ascertaining from all the facts whether the parts so belong together that it may reasonably be 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.

SECTION III.

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.

a

SECTION IV.

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 tı) 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 tuke 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,

« iepriekšējāTurpināt »