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Page:Harvard Law Review Volume 1.djvu/373

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to the purchaser. In consequence of this rule, the right of a purchaser of a specific chattel is commonly a right of property from the beginning,—not a right resting upon contract. There is, however, a rule of equity jurisdiction, which is so strictly analogous to the one under consideration, that the precedents which illustrate the application of the former will illustrate the application of the latter also, namely, the rule that a bill in equity will lie to recover the possession of a chattel wherever a compensation in money would be an inadequate remedy. That rule will be considered hereafter.

It is obvious that contracts which consist in giving specified things are almost invariably bilateral; and yet it is commonly only one of the parties to the contract who is to give a specified thing; and even if a specified thing is to be given by each party, yet the thing to be given by one may be of such a nature as to give a court of equity jurisdiction over the contract, while the thing to be given by the other is not. How, then, is the question of equity jurisdiction to be dealt with in case of a bilateral contract, one side of which is of such a nature as to give a court of equity jurisdiction over the contract, but the other is not? It must first be ascertained whether the two sides of the contract are or are not mutually dependent upon each other. If they are not, they are to be regarded, for the purposes of the question now under consideration, as two separate unilateral contracts; for in such a case the two sides of the contract can never be the subject of any one suit (unless, indeed, a suit and a cross-suit be regarded as one suit), and therefore the question whether equity has jurisdiction over one side of the contract is always independent of the question whether it has jurisdiction over the other side of the contract. It is upon this ground that the decision rests in the important case of Jones v. Newhall;[1] for, though performance by the plaintiff was there dependent upon performance by the defendant, yet the converse was not true; on the contrary, performance by the defendant was a condition precedent to performance by the plaintiff. Consequently, though the defendant, on paying or tendering the purchase-money, could have maintained a bill in equity for a conveyance of the land, yet the plaintiff could not maintain a bill to recover the purchase-money, his remedy at law being perfectly adequate; nor could he, it seems, even though performance


  1. 115 Mass. 244.