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Consideration Arising from Moral Obligation Discussed


CONSIDERATION ARISING FROM MORAL OBLIGATION DISCUSSED. By moral obligation is to be understood one which derives its sanction from the moral law, and which is not legally enforceable. Such obligations may arise from benefits received in the past, from motives of piety, conscience and friendship, and from the rules of honor and duty among men as social beings. Thus a man is bound in honor to pay money lost in wager, but he is not legally bound because the law makes gambling illegal. Now is this moral obligation, however arising, sufficient consideration to support a promise to pay for it from the person so obligated? The rule is, that a moral ob ligation is insufficient to support a promise unless the pre-existing obligation is one which has become inop erative by the interference of a rule of positive law, as a statute of limitations, the law protecting infant's con tracts and the like. (Pars. Cont. p. 437; Philpot v. Gruninger, t4 Wal.. 570; Osier v. Hobbs, 33 Ark. 215.) And the new promise in such case must be distinct and specific, and will not be inferred from the payment of interest on a note, or from statements to third persons of promises to pay a debt which is barred.

So where services have been rendered without the request of the party to whom they are rendered, and without expectation of payment, a subsequent promise to pay for them is unenforceable for lack of consid eration. (Bartholomew v. Jackson, 20 Johns. 28; Al len v. Bryson, 67 Ia. 591.) Where one is under a moral and legal obligation to do a thing, and another does it for him under circum stances of decency and humanity admitting of no de lay, the law implies a promise to pay for such service.

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