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to Jones was not delivered in Sheffield until 7.30 p.m. on October 27. The postmarks show that the letter had in fact been posted at a district office, and did not leave for Sheffield until noon, instead of two hours earlier, as it would had it been posted at the General Post Office. It was further shown that town postmen were not allowed to take charge of letters for the post. Cozens Hardy, J., decided that an offer is to be deemed accepted when a letter of acceptance is posted, the Post Office being a common agent for both parties. This was so held in Harris's case (1872] (L.R. 7 Ch. 587). Therefore no delay on the part of the Post Office in delivering the letter would be material ; but it is evident that the withdrawal, in order to be effectual, must be made before the offer is clinched, by the posting of the allotment. The postman who took charge of the letter could not be an agent of the Post Office to receive the letter, because town postmen are forbidden to receive letters. What he did with it, is not clear, save that he somehow caused it to be received by a district post-office. One thing is certain, he pocketed his fee. Cozens Hardy, J., properly decided that the withdrawal was received by the bank before the letter of allotment was posted, and therefore Jones must be relieved of his contract.
This case adds one more link to the great catena of authority on the interesting subject of offer and acceptance by letter. In Dunlop v. Higgins (1 H.L. 381), a case in which a letter of acceptance was delayed in the post, and the offeror repudiated the contract when the acceptance arrived, Lord Cottenham, delivering the judgment of the House of Lords, laid it down as a general rule that if the party accepting the offer put his letter into the post on the correct day, he has done everything that he was bound to do. This language covers the case of a letter lost in the post; but the Court of Exchequer, in Colson's case (L.R.
6 Ex. 108), held that it does not apply to a lost letter. The most interesting point of all is the suggestion what would be the judgment of the Court if, when acceptance is made by letter, the letter is posted, but the acceptor revokes the acceptance by telegraph, which of course arrives long before the letter. We submit that the telegram would be inoperative, and it is not easy to see how our Courts could decide otherwise, in face of earlier decisions. He has sent an unconditional acceptance, and there is no reason why he should have an opportunity of changing his mind, which he would not have enjoyed if the contract had been made inter presentes
The London County Council made a bye-law, under s. 16 of the Local Government Act, 1888, for the good rule and government of the county, that "no person shall frequent and use any street or other public place, on behalf either of himself or any other person, for the purpose of bookmaking, or betting, or wagering, or agreeing to bet or wager with any person, or paying, or receiving, or settling bets.” It was contended in Thomas v. Sutters (108 L.T. 33) that the above bye-law was invalid, as being inconsistent with the provisions of the Metropolitan Streets Act, 1857, s. 23, which contains words similar in effect. The Court of Appeal (Lindley, M.R., Sir F. Jeune, and Romer, L.J.) held that there was no inconsistency between the bye-law and the statute, and that the bye-law was valid. This decision upholds the decision of Kekewich, J., in the Court below, and affirms White v. Morley (80 L.T.R. 761), decided by Darling and Channell, JJ., in the Divisional Court.
Lane (app.) v. Rendall (resp.) (108 L.T. 12) is a good illustration of the uncertainty of the law. The respondent was charged, under s. 25 of the Weights and Measures Act, 1878
(41 & 42 Vict. c. 49), for having in his possession for use in trade a weighing-machine which was false or unjust. There was merely a piece of paper underneath the scoop, in which the tea, or other article, to be weighed was placed ; that is to say, between the bottom of the scoop and the cup in which the scoop rested. The effect of such paper upon the weighing-machine made it indicate one and a half drams--the weight of the paper-in excess of the actual weight of the article in the scoop. In the absence of the paper the machine showed the actual weight of the article in the scoop. The paper was placed below the scoop merely for convenience-the article was tea-and the paper weighed less than the bag in which the tea was to be wrapped. Yet the Divisional Court (Ridley and Darling, JJ.) held that the appellant was liable to be convicted of having an unjust weighing-machine in his possession, although the recognized custom of the trade to weigh tea in this manner for convenience was clearly proved. Lane might have escaped had he been proceeded against under the next section, viz. s. 26. In 1893 a grocer was charged under that section with committing a fraud in using his scales. The inspector bought tea and other articles from the appellant, and in each case a paper bag was weighed along with the article, causing a really considerable deficiency. The practice was well recognized, and the purchaser did not protest.
The Divisional Court (Mathew and Bruce, JJ.) questioned the conviction made by the justices, holding that the practice was so well known and so universally followed that there could be no pretence for holding that any fraud was practised (Harris (app.) v. Allwood (resp.) (57 J.P. 7)). It will be observed that the one section forbids the having of unjust weights, and the other section forbids the fraudulent user of the same.
The Divisional Court (Ridley and Darling, JJ.) have given a decision in Wride (app) v. Dyer (resp.) (108
L.T. 58) which, we venture to think, might be upset if appealed against. The appellant was tenant to the respondent upon a yearly tenancy, from Lady Day to Lady Day. The contract was verbal. On March 24, 1898, notice to quit, duly signed by the respondent, was served on the appellant in these words : “I hereby give you notice to quit and deliver up to me all that cottage which you hold of me, known as - on the 24th day of June, 1898, or at the end of your current year's tenancy. Dated this 24th day of March, 1898." The appellant did not quit. He contended that the notice was not legal, inasmuch as the tenancy being a yearly tenancy from the 25th day of March of each year, it could only be determined by at least half a year's notice to quit at the end of a year of the tenancy ; and that the notice was either a three-months' notice to quit on June 24, 1898, which was not the end of a year of the tenancy, or a one-day's notice to quit on March 25, 1898. It was contended, on the other hand, by the respondent that
a legal notice to quit on March 25, 1899. The question for the Court was whether the latter contention was good. The Court decided that the respondent's contention was correct, and that the notice was a good notice to quit on March 25, 1899. In this decision we regret to say that the Court followed Doe v. Culliford (4 D. & R. 248), which held that a notice dated 27th and served on the 28th September, requiring a tenant to quit “ at Lady Day next, or at the end of his current year,” must be understood to mean a six-months' and not a two-days' notice. Culliford was disparaged by Lord Chief Justice Denman in Doe v. Morphett (7 Ad. & Ell. (Q.B.) 577), who said, “I am of opinion that Doe v. Culliford is not good law." Mr. Justice Patteson did the same. He said, “I confess I do not agree with the doctrine there (Doe v. Culliford) laid down. If we are to interpret notices upon the principle there acted upon, where can we stop? I think the case
is not good law.” Indeed, we may well echo the words of the learned judge: If Wride v. Dyer be good law, where can we stop? Darling, J., founded his judgment on Doe d. Williams v. Smith (5 Ad. & Ell. 350), but even there Littledale, J., terms the notice" lame and inaccurate."
Every subject of her Majesty is held in theory to be acquainted with the law, yet, as a matter of fact, in Bavins v. London and South-Western Bank (108 L.T. 129) neither the parties, their solicitors, their counsel, nor the learned judge himself, knew of s. 17 of the Revenue Act, 1883! Had any one, even an amicus curia, quoted it to the Court, the whole raison d'être of the case would have disappeared, save on a collateral point. It remained for the Court of Appeal to set the matter right.
Perhaps one of the most important judgments on the status of married women was given by Byrne, J., in Earle v. Kingscote (108 L.T. 129). A married woman had entered into a contract with the plaintiff, and subsequently, by means of false representations, obtained £2000 from him. Plaintiff brought an action against her and her husband to recover the £2000. The husband alleged that the transaction was without his knowledge, and that he had not participated in the use of the money Byrne, J., however, held that the cases in which a husband is to be held exempt from his common law liability for his wife's torts must be limited to cases in which the fraud was not only directly connected with the contract, and parcel of the same, but was also the means of effecting (in the sense of obtaining) the contract. In the above case the contract was effected prior to and independently of the fraud, therefore he held the husband liable in damages for the tort complained of. If this decision be not reversed-and we see no reason why it should-it is bound to visit a husband with injustice by making him liable for all his wife's torts